Writer: Paula Hawkins
Adapters: Rachel Wagstaff & Duncan Abel
Director: Anthony Banks
Paula Hawkins’s award winning book already has hit the big screen and now the gripping story is brought to the stage in a highly engaging way.
Rachel Wagstaff & Duncan Abel focus on the whodunnit as the core plot structure but tie it very close to how we view other people’s lives and that now we have social media we may try and broadcast perfection, behind closed doors it is far from true. Wagstaff & Abel produce a realistic script, which includes the natural wit you can find in a conventional conversation, but also it does not shy away from the darker themes within the play which can be incredibly intense.
While more could be done between set changes to make the performance slicker and join together better, once the transition happens each scene is as intense as the last, it’ll keep you guessing and by the time the interval happens, you can’t help but want more.
Samantha Womack is great in the role of Rachel. While you continue to challenge the character’s true motives throughout, Womack draws you in with her insecurity and desperation to find out the truth, whatever that may be. Her connection with Scott, her ex-husband is particularly clever, particularly the difference between how Rachel and Scott act around each other when other people are present, in comparison to when they are alone. With scenes with psychiatrist Kamal, It does seem something is lost with Anthony Banks’ direction to focus on direct audience address, rather than connecting with each other but still Womack controls these moments and ensures not too much is lost.
The sound design by Ben & Max Ringham helps put you on edge throughout and Jack Knowles very clever lighting effect towards the end of the play brings the play to a fitting close. Knowles also does well to capture the difference between reality and scenes in Rachel’s imagination. These elements of the production, work well with the performance on stage to create a compelling thriller.
The Girl on the Train is an intense thriller that keeps you engaged throughout. From the getgo, you are aboard a fascinating and revealing train ride into the lives of the characters, that you won’t want to get off until the last station stop. The themes are tricky and intense but while some may crack the case before the end, it doesn’t detract away from the thrill of the journey as when you start to scratch the surface, there is much more to this than a whodunit.
*A complimentary ticket was given in exchange for this review. This value for money rating is based on the ticket price value of £30.50 + £3 Booking Fee. For more info on this value for money rating please visit here: Introducing a new kind of rating