I’m not going to write a detailed review of ‘The Girl on the Train’, because I’ve read countless eloquent reviews of the book, and the subsequent play and film, and question whether I have anything new to add. However, I did greatly enjoy the production I saw at Bromley’s Churchill Theatre so, as it’s continuing to tour the country, I thought I would capture my immediate thoughts in a post.
This is a taut, tense, well-acted piece of theatre which sinks its claws into you from the opening scene and never lets go. Samantha Womack is excellent as alcoholic divorcée Rachel Watson, still mourning the end of her marriage and unable to accept that her ex-husband has moved on (the rest of the cast are great, too, but Womack has by far the meatiest part). It’s a difficult role as she has to persuade us that, despite her blackouts and tenuous grip on reality, Rachel’s suspicions around the murder of a local woman are valid, but Womack manages the challenge with aplomb – and despite the set breaking down twice, which must be every actor’s nightmare.
The themes are age-old: deception, lust, power, insecurity, addiction – all reasons, no doubt, as to why Paula Hawkins’ novel was such a global phenomenon. In fact, the play manages to stay remarkably true to the book, even in its final, shattering, scene; no easy feat on stage.
Yes, there was the odd moment when I had to suspend my disbelief – would the police really let any civilian, let alone a ‘person of interest’, get involved with a murder investigation? – but these were more than compensated for by an absorbing plot line, some genuinely surprising moments and a keen desire to find out “Who dunnit?”
‘The Girl on the Train’ continues to tour the UK; click here for dates and locations.