Reviewed by Louise Edwards
Wow! Following on the success of the 2015 thriller novel The Girl on the Train, which topped The New York Times list of fiction bestsellers for 13 weeks comes the stage production showing this week at Nottingham’s Theatre Royal.
Starting the talented Samantha Womack as Rachel Watson, an alcoholic still feeling from the breakup of her marriage who takes on a fascination with a couple she sees out of the train window on her way into work. Scott (played by Coronation Street’s Andy Carver, Oliver Farnworth) and Megan (Kirsty Oswald) Hipwell look to have the perfect life and Rachel gets fixated by the facade of their life on display.
I was really interested to see how the stage version of the book would work translated to the theatre. Adapted by Rachel Wagstaff and Duncan Abel and directed by Anthony Banks, the production doesn’t disappoint with the cleverly written script, lighting, music and set as well as impeccable acting.
Award winning composition and sound designers Ben and Max Ringham create atmosphere and drama with eerie music that is perfectly timed to send goose bumps through the audience. The set designed by James Cotterill is also incredible with use of video screens and it seamlessly transforms to various locations throughout the drama.
The drama opens in Rachel’s flat where she is recovering from a heavy night of drinking. Her concerned ex-husband, Tom Watson, played by Adam Jackson-Smith calls round to see her as she had turned up at the house he now shares with his new wife, Anna, played by Lowenna Melrose the previous Saturday, drunk and causing trouble. Added to the mix their neighbour, Megan Hipwell, has gone missing. Rachel can’t remember much but she knows Megan from the sightings of her on the train. He warns her that DI Gaskill played by John Dougall, will be calling round as he is talking to everyone on the area on Saturday night.
Touching on themes including isolation in the modern world, consumer culture and the power of image consciousness on social media, the story unfolds and we learn Megan has a tragic past her husband knows nothing of and she is in therapy with Kamal Abdic, played by Naeem Hayat who holds secrets about her. Rachel turns her interest into an obsession as she tried to find out what has happened to Megan as well as piecing together herself what she saw on the night.
The action is fast paced, taking place over a week, and the acting is astounding as each character puts in their all to create a tense and compelling psychological drama executed incredibly cleverly showing us that is not always as it seems, and appearances can be deceptive. Providing a brilliant escape from reality this production really should not be missed!
Tickets cost from £15 to £35.50 (booking fees may apply).
The Girl on the Train is at the Theatre Royal in Nottingham from 20-25 May 2019, for more information or to book tickets visit www.trch.co.uk or call the box office on 0115 989 5555.
Theatre Royal & Royal Concert Hall, Theatre Square, Nottingham, NG1 5ND