For leisure page

A BOND girl, a top TV cop, an EastEnders star and a West End legend will all be facing a scary time at Windsor's Theatre Royal later this month - when they star in the classic creepy comedy thriller The Cat and the Canary.

The famous play by John Willard has been turned into films twice and still stands as a classic 'old dark house' thriller, as a group of relatives gather for the reading of a will and the young heroine soon finds herself the object of some serious murder attempts

Walls crack open, shadows loom and dark secrets are revealed as everyone wonders who will live to inherit the fortune.

The new production is being presented by Bill Kenwright's Classic Thriller Theatre Company - which has built a big reputation with its productions of Agatha Christie whodunits.

Heading the cast of the Cat and the Canary is Britt Ekland - star of such cult films as The Night They Raided Minsky's, Night Hair Child, The Wicker Man and of course the Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun.

Appearing with her is Mark Jordon who played the much loved PC Phil Bellamy in Heartbeat, plus Tracy Shaw - a 'soap' legend for her long running role as hairdresser Maxine Peacock in Coronation Street.

One star of the show will not have to change her daily schedule too much - as Marti Webb will be going straight from appearing in the Theatre Royal's panto Aladdin to her role in the Cat and the Canary.

Marti's extraordinary career began starring with Tommy Steele in the original London run of Half a Sixpence in 1964 and has included playing the lead in Evita and giving an amazing performance in the 'one woman' musical Tell Me on a Sunday.

Gary Webster who took over from Dennis Waterman as Arthur Daley's 'Minder' on television is also involved in the excitement.

The production is in the safe hands of actor Roy Marsden - directing his fifth Thriller Theatre Company production.

The Cat and the Canary runs at the Theatre Royal from Wednesday, January 15 until Saturday, January 25. Box office 01753 853888.