The Girl on the Train (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review


The Girl on the Train (UK Tour)
New Victoria Theatre
Reviewed on Monday 28th October 2019 by Melanie Mitchell 
★★★★

Having never read the book nor seen the film apart from the first 20 minutes, I was unsure what to expect from the stage version of Paula Hawkins' 2015 bestseller The Girl on the Train. I knew that it was a psychological thriller involving a girl, a lot of train journeys and a murder but that was all!

I was unsure how the train element of the story would be transferred on to a fairly small theatre stage, but thanks to the extremely clever set design by Anthony Banks accompanied by the atmospheric lighting from Jack Knowles and sound by Ben & Max Ringham, this was very successfully  and effectively achieved.

The story focusses on Rachel Watson after the breakdown of her childless marriage. Her life begins to unravel and she sinks deeper and deeper into the bottom of a bottle. Whilst on her daily commute she starts to watch a couple on their balcony, living close to where she used to live. Convinced that they have the perfect life that she no longer has, she becomes fixated and obsessed by them. But  as we all know, things aren’t always as perfect as they seem...

Samantha Womack plays the alcoholic Rachel superbly, conveying her feelings of inadequacy, confusion, loneliness and envy, interspersed with moments of laugh out loud one liners, that don’t take away from the drama at all. 

All members of the production are very well cast, especially Adam Jackson Smith who portrays Rachel's caring ex and now perfect husband to Anna, played by Lowenna Melrose who also gives a strong performance.

As the story goes on it becomes increasingly apparent that people are often not living the lives that are seen and admired by outsiders or people looking in. Things are very different behind closed doors and when one of the characters disappears these facades begin to fall away, culminating in an unexpected twist, which I didn’t see coming. Altogether this is a very clever adaptation and production of the book, which takes you on a journey of human emotions and is well worth seeing.

The Girl on the Train runs at the New Victoria Theatre until 2nd November before continuing its tour.

photo credit: Manuel Harlan

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