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Samantha Womack Girl on the Train

Theatre review: The Girl on the Train

The psychological thriller pulls into Richmond

It was one we have been waiting for, having loved Paula Hawkins’ original book and liked the subsequent film, so could this chilling tale translate to a play? It is a tall order. The complexities of a psychological thriller are not so easily delivered on stage, particularly one in which so much happens inside the mind.

For the most part, it is successful with Samantha Womack convincingly portraying Rachel, a trainwreck of an ex still obsessed with her former husband, his wife and the baby she couldn’t have. We are drawn into her turmoil when the woman she has been spying on from the train suddenly disappears. Kirsty Oswald, as Megan Hipwell, gives a an equally chilling performance as she reveals her grisly backstory. And the set moves brilliantly between Rachel’s depressing booze bottle-littered kitchen and that of her ex and his new family.

There are also some impressive effects, such as the rattling train through the suburbs and the dramatic finale. In the book, I did wonder about some of the character motivation and it was confusing in parts – this was even more apparent on stage. That said, the play, like the book, keeps you gripped until the end.

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Richmond Theatre, on until Saturday 16 February and touring.

More local theatre reviews: www.timeandleisure.co.uk/whats-on/