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Review: Strangers on a Train – a non-stop thriller of a ride

When a loudmouth playboy with a flask of whiskey happens to meet an introspective architect reading the works of Plato, on a train through 1950s Texas, the talk somehow gets to murder.

And, when the two have parted, it’s soon more than just talk!

Strangers on a Train is probably familiar to most of us through the classic Hitchcock film, but this stage production, which opened at the New Theatre tonight (Tuesday March 27) is more faithful to the original Patricia Highsmith novel, and packs plenty of susprises.

Written by Craig Warner and directed by Anthony Banks, it stars Chris Harper as the manipulative psychopath, Charles Bruno, and Jack Ashton as his ‘victim’, Guy Haines – two outstanding performances in very demanding roles.

An impressive supporting cast includes Hannah Tointon and Helen Anderson as the women in their lives, and John Middleton as the detective, tasked with solving one murder and deducing there may be more.

Equally impressive is David Woodhead’s stunning set design – with sliding panels and projections which ingeniously carry us swiftly from train carriage to bar to bedroom to office, and other places in between.

Strangers on a Train is a superb production – a non-stop thriller of a ride, which takes the audience through tension, dark humour and pathos.  Not to be missed.

It plays at Cardiff’s New Theatre until Saturday (March 31). For details and to book tickets, visit newtheatrecardiff.co.uk or call (029) 2087 8889.

Review by Andrew Weltch

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