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Review: The Girl on the Train – more than an old-fashioned thriller

Following its successful West End run, The Girl on the Train, arrived in Cardiff tonight (Tuesday November 12th) on its UK-wide tour.

Starring Samantha Womack, it tells the story of Rachel Watson, who commutes to her office job in London each day, but longs for a different life. She finds escape from her mundane, and apparently lonely, routine by watching a seemingly-perfect loving couple through the train window every day.

But Rachel’s world turns upside down when she learns that the woman she’s been watching has mysteriously disappeared, and she finds herself as a witness, suspect, and even amateur investigator in the case.

Adapted by Rachel Wagstaff and Duncan Abel from Paula Hawkins’ best-selling novel, the play is in some ways an old-fashioned thriller – and one which kept me guessing until the end. But it’s much more than that – exploring profound issues such as loneliness, motherhood, and relationships.

Womack is outstanding as the unreliable alcoholic Rachel, and appears in every scene, ably supported by Oliver Farnworth, Adam Jackson-Smith, Matt Concannon, Lowenna Melrose, Kirsty Oswald, and Naeem Hayat.

The set design by James Cotterill is superb, transforming from dirty run-down flat to glossy middle-class home in seconds, and is enhanced by the sound (by Ben and Max Ringham) and lighting (by Jack Knowles).

The Girl on the Train plays at the New Theatre until Saturday. You can book tickets online here or by phoning the box office on 029 2087 8889.

Review by Andrew Weltch

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