REVIEW: The Girl on the Train at Eastbourne

The Girl on the Train SUS-190511-105436001
The Girl on the Train SUS-190511-105436001

Most people of a certain age know The Girl on the Train in one guise or another.

They’ve either read the best selling English novel by Paula Hawkins or seen the mystery thriller film (atrociously Americanised I am sad to say on the big screen) starring Emily Blunt.

Samantha Womack SUS-190511-105241001

Samantha Womack SUS-190511-105241001

And now we have The Girl on the Train stage play.

My first school of thought was to question how on earth the best-selling novel could be adapted but Rachel Wagstaff and Duncan Abel have done a sterling job and the end product is one of the most enthralling to have graced the Devonshire Park stage for some time.

For those who know nothing about The Girl on the Train, the story follows hapless alcoholic Rachel Watson who becomes involved in a missing person case when a woman she has been secretly watching from a train window every day suddenly disappears.

Samantha Womack is Rachel, who finds herself a witness and even a suspect. The accomplished actress, better known as Ronnie in EastEnders, plays a convincing character with even more gutso in the second half. It was wonderful to see how effortlessly she delivers a grade one performance staggering around the stage half-drunk but trying not to appear so.

It was also great to see fellow soap star actor Oliver Farnworth, who played Andy in Coronation Street and met his untimely death at the hands of Wetherfield baddie Pat Phelan, as Scott Hipwell, the husband of missing Megan.

Kirsty Oswald played Megan, whose scenes were fabulously interlaced with most of the characters including psychiatrist Kamal, played by Naeem Hayat.

Lowenna Melrose and Adam Jackson-Smith play Tom and Anna Watson and both were convincing - but it was hats off to understudy Matt Concannon who stepped into the breach to play Detective Inspector Gaskill.

The play, two hours long with a 20 minute interval, has plenty of humorous moments too despite the subject and again Womack shines.

She says of the role, “I am absolutely loving playing Rachel in The Girl on the Train. She’s such an interesting character to play and we’ve had a brilliant reception from our audiences who have been gripped by her story.

“The novel is about coercive control and obsession, feeling isolated and broken.”

Don’t miss the thrilling theatrical experience The Girl on the Train at the Devonshire Park Theatre until Saturday November 9 with nightly performances 7.45pm and 2.30pm matinee on Wednesday and Saturday.

Tickets are priced from £22 and to book call the box office on 01323 412000 or online eastbournetheatres.co.uk