‘Plenty to keep fans of thrillers entertained’: THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN – Touring ★★★

In Opinion, Plays, Regional theatre, Reviews, Scotland, Touring by Thom DibdinLeave a Comment

Touring – reviewed at Kings Theatre, Edinburgh
Guest reviewer: Sarah Moyes

Whether you know the story or not, The Girl On the Train will keep you on the edge of your seat right up until the end.

Paula Hawkins’ novel became a worldwide phenomenon when it was released in 2015, followed by a movie adaptation the next year. This latest stage adaption directed by Anthony Banks follows the same story of commuter Rachel, who longs to escape her own life.

Rachel, played by Samantha Womack, spends her days watching what she thinks is the perfect couple from the train window on her daily commute. However, when the woman whose life she fantasises about goes missing, she finds herself in the middle of the police investigation as she fights to remember what happened the night of the disappearance.

The show begins in Rachel’s apartment which is littered with empty wine bottles and rubbish, a reflection of how much of a mess her life has become since she lost her husband and job and had to move out of their marital home.

Womack might be best known for her role in EastEnders, but she has plenty of experience in live theatre too. And it shows in a raw and powerful performance as the troubled Rachel. Not only is she struggling with an alcohol problem but her unhealthy obsession with Megan makes the police start to question what she really knows about the young woman’s mysterious disappearance.

The part of Rachel demands that Womack is on stage for the entire production, even during the scene changes. Which is an impressive display of acting endurance given the demanding nature of the part. She is supported by small but strong cast who help carry the story through.

Kirsty Oswald is terrific in the role of Megan, whose problems you really understand through a very emotional monologue. Coronation Street’s Oliver Farnworth gives a strong performance as her partner Scott, a part that he seems to settle into more as the show goes on and his character’s traits unravel.

While there’s no doubting the serious subject matter here, Rachel’s relationship with both her controlling ex-husband Tom (Adam Jackson-Smith) and his new wife Anna (Lowenna Melrose), and especially with DI Gaskill, played by Scottish actor John Dougall, provide some witty one-liners which break up the tense atmosphere.

James Cotterill’s set design provides an effective contrast between Rachael’s present and past lives, from her messy and chaotic apartment in one scene to Tom and Anna’s perfect suburban home in the next. The scenes between Rachel, Megan and her therapist Kamal (Naeem Hayat), however, consist solely of a few chairs, drawing you into the story which unfolds there.

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Given the name of the play, it’s the train scene that you want to see the most. In this production, it’s not used very much but when it does appear the mix of projection, lights and rattling sounds by Andrzej Goulding, Jack Knowles and Ben and Max Ringham is very effective.

In a plot full of twists and turns, it’s not until the storyline develops quickly in the latter part of the second half that you become really gripped. That said, there is plenty in The Girl on the Train to keep fans of mystery and thrillers entertained.

Running time: two hours (including one interval)
King’s Theatre 2 Leven Street EH3 9LQ. Phone booking: 0131 529 6000
Monday 18 – Saturday 30 March 2019.
Evenings 7.30pm. Matinees Wed & Sat: 2.30pm. Book here.

Samantha Womack and Adam Jackson Smith. Pic: Manuel Harlan

The Girl on the Train on tour 2019:

Mon 25 – Sat 30 March
Edinburgh
King’s Theatre
0131 529 6000
Book online

Mon 1 – Sat 6 April
Salford
Lowry Theatre
08432 086000
Book online

Mon 8 – Sat 13 April
Bath
Theatre Royal
01225 448844
Book online

Mon 15 – Sat 20 April
Glasgow
Theatre Royal
0844 871 7647
Book online

Mon 22 – Sat 27 April
Northampton
Royal & Derngate
01604 624 811
Book online

Mon 29 April – Sat 4 May
Newcastle
Theatre Royal
08448 11 21 21
Book online

Tue 7 – Sat 11 May
Dartford
Orchard Theatre
01322 220000
Book online

Mon 13 – Sat 18 May
Coventry
Belgrade Theatre
024 7655 3055
Book online

Mon 20 – Sat 25 May
Nottingham
Theatre Royal
0115 989 5555
Book online

Mon 27 May – Sat 1 June
Shrewsbury
Theatre Severn
01743 281281
Book online

Mon 3 – Sat 8 June
Dublin
Bord Gais Energy Theatre
0818 719 377
Book online

Tue 11 – Sat 15 June
Belfast
Grand Opera House
02890 241919
Book online

Mon 17 – Sat 22 June
Brighton
Theatre Royal
0844 871 7650
Book online

Mon 24 – Sat 29 June
Sheffield
Lyceum Theatre
0114 249 6000
Book online

Mon 1 – Sat 6 July
Norwich
Theatre Royal
01603 63 00 00
Book online

Mon 8 – Sat 13 July
Guildford
Yvonne Arnaud Theatre
01483 44 00 00
Book online

Mon 15 – Sat 20 July
Oxford
Playhouse
01865 305305
Book online

Mon 19 – Sat 24 Aug
Canterbury
The Marlowe Theatre
01227 787787
Book online

Mon 26 – Sat 31 Aug
Birmingham
The New Alexandra Theatre
0844 871 3011
Book online

Tue 3 – Sat 7 Sept
Aberdeen
His Majesty’s Theatre
01224 641122
Book online

Tue 10 – Sat 14 Sept
Bradford
The Alhambra Theatre
01274 432 000
Book online

Tue 17 – Sat 21 Sept
High Wycombe
Wycombe Swan
01494 512000
Book online

Mon 23 – Sat 28 Sept
Cambridge
Arts Theatre
01223 503333
Book online

Mon 30 Sept – Sat 5 Oct
Plymouth
Theatre Royal
01752 230440
Book online

Mon 7 – Sat 12 Oct
Swindon
Wyvern Theatre
01793 524 481
Book online

Mon 14 – Sat 19 Oct
Bromley
Churchill Theatre
08448 717 620
Book online

Mon 21 – Sat 26 Oct
Malvern
Festival Theatre
01684 892277
Book online

Mon 28 Oct – Sat 2 Nov
Woking
New Victoria Theatre
0844 871 7645
Book online

Mon 11 – Sat 16 Nov
Cardiff
New Theatre
029 2087 8889
Book online

Tue 19 – Sat 23 Nov
Blackpool
Winter Gardens
0844 856 1111
Book online

ENDS

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Thom Dibdin
Thom Dibdin has been reviewing and writing about theatre in Scotland since the last millennium. He is currently Scotland Correspondent for The Stage newspaper. In 2010, he founded AllEdinburghTheatre.com. The city's only dedicated theatre website, it covers all Edinburgh theatre year-round - and all theatre made in Edinburgh during EdFringe. Thom is passionate about quality in theatre criticism and is a member of the Critics' Awards for Theatre in Scotland. He tweets from @AllEdinTheatre and, personally, from @ThomDibdin.
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Thom Dibdin on FacebookThom Dibdin on RssThom Dibdin on Twitter
Thom Dibdin
Thom Dibdin has been reviewing and writing about theatre in Scotland since the last millennium. He is currently Scotland Correspondent for The Stage newspaper. In 2010, he founded AllEdinburghTheatre.com. The city's only dedicated theatre website, it covers all Edinburgh theatre year-round - and all theatre made in Edinburgh during EdFringe. Thom is passionate about quality in theatre criticism and is a member of the Critics' Awards for Theatre in Scotland. He tweets from @AllEdinTheatre and, personally, from @ThomDibdin.

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