Reviewed by Nicola Wilkinson
So last night at the Theatre Royal in Plymouth I had the chance of watching The Girl on the Train staring the very talented Samantha Womack as the main role of Rachel Watson.
Rachel Watson is an alcoholic. Still recovering from the breakup of her marriage, she takes the train every day and watches a couple who live a few doors away from her old house, where she lived with her ex-husband (played by Adam Jackson-Smith), through the train window on her daily commute. They look to have the perfect life, which Rachel longs to have. Her ex-husband now lives in her old house with his new wife Anna (played by Lowenna Melrose) and their baby, something Rachel had always wanted. It becomes an obsession for Rachel to watch this couple, even giving the lady and man names. Then one day Rachel learns that the woman she spies on has gone missing.
We learn throughout the story that the woman Rachel spies on is called Megan and her husband Scott, played by the fantastic Kirsty Oswald and very talented Oliver Farworth.
I don’t want to give too much away, but the first half of the play sets the background to the whole story. This is done through flashbacks which Rachel experiences due to blackouts from being an alcoholic. You do need to concentrate to follow the story, but I was fully pulled in by it. Throughout the first half you see Rachel becomes more and more obsessed with the missing person as she is sure she remembers something but due to the blackouts she experiences she can’t quite remember.
The second half of the play you slowly see Rachel’s life changing for the better and becomes sober, whilst getting herself more and more personally involved in the case of the missing person.
Samantha Womack played the role of Rachel which such ease, really showing how someone can change their life around, from being drunk, not being able to stand and failing in life to becoming completely sober and turning her life around.
The stage sets were very simple but with such great acting, lighting and sounds effects it really set the mood for each scene. For example, Rachel’s house was always dull and dirty which gave a feeling of how dark her life was were as her ex-husband’s house was bright and well lit, which gave a feeling of happiness and a loving family home. When the flashbacks happened, the sound effects gave me goosebumps. I feel the sets didn’t need to be any more than what it was and worked really well.
The scenes of the train were so cleverly thought out, showing clips of the people Rachel watches, or just the scenery passing by. At times it felt you were on the platform at the station looking at the train from the outside and others you were looking through the window seeing what Rachel was watching.
Having never read the bestselling novel by Paula Hawkins or watched the film I thought the show was fantastic and I really had no idea till the end who did it!
I do wonder if I had known the story beforehand if I would have enjoyed it as much knowing what was going to happen, but the whole evening was enjoyable and had myself wanting to know more.
It’s a show which keeps you wanting to know more.
The Theatre Royal is within Plymouth town centre. There is plenty of parking near the theatre and if parking in the multi storey behind the theatre you are able to pre-pay your parking ticket within the theatre to save queueing at the end.
The theatre itself is on three levels, some seats do have restricted views, but these are clearly shown when booking. The theatre is very friendly with a number of bars you can pre-order interval drinks, and a has a restaurant to enjoy before the show.
Tickets cost from £12 to £33 (booking fees may apply).
The Girl on the Train is at the Theatre Royal in Plymouth from 30 September to 5 October 2019, for more information or to book tickets visit www.theatreroyal.com or call the box office on 01752 267222.
Theatre Royal Plymouth, Royal Parade, Plymouth, PL1 2TR | 01752 267222