Review Roundup: THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN Arrives in London
Starring Samantha Womack as Rachel Watson, The Girl on the Train just opened at London's Duke of York's Theatre, St Martin's Lane. The gripping thriller, based on the internationally acclaimed number one best-selling novel by Paula Hawkins and the Dreamworks film has been breaking box office records and playing to packed houses on a major tour since the beginning of the year.
Rachel Watson longs for a different life. Her only escape is the perfect couple she watches through the train window every day, happy and in love. Or so it appears. When Rachel learns that the woman she's been secretly watching has suddenly disappeared, she finds herself as a witness and even a suspect in a thrilling mystery in which she will face bigger revelations than she could ever have anticipated.
Let's see what the critics had to say...
Fraser MacDonald, BroadwayWorld: The Girl on the Train seems as though it hasn't quite found itself on stage yet, crying out to be both more and less complex at the same time. It's taken an incredibly well-constructed novel, complete with crossing perspectives and a stinging twist, and sucked much of the life from it. Despite the talent at its disposal, The Girl on the Train simply cannot live up to its previous incarnations. Unfortunately, it's stuck on the tracks and going nowhere fast.
Nick Curtis, Evening Standard: Everything that was pacy and clever about Hawkins's superior potboiler becomes clumsy and dull here. Womack, who displays an impressively nuanced array of sniffs, slurs and exaggerated carefulness as our drunk heroine Rachel in the early scenes, becomes increasingly shrieky and petulant as the melodrama ramps up. The show is only briefly in London before returning to a regional tour. It won't be missed.
Heather Neill, The Arts Desk: It may help if you love the book. It was a runaway bestseller, so fans must be legion, but a suspenseful story which depends on memories being obscured by prodigious boozing, and featuring a trio of women best described as "flaky", all defining themselves too much by their relationships with unreliable men, is not to everyone's taste. For newcomers to book or film (Emily Blunt won an Oscar nomination for the New York-set movie), it may be best to approach this as a harsher, suburban, sex-filled variation on The Mousetrap. For all the modern trappings, the real interest - especially so in the stripped back stage version - is ultimately, as in the rep staples of old, in revealing who committed the murder.
Will Longman, London Theatre: Part of the problem is that is doesn't give her much of a chance to develop a personality, so it becomes quite difficult to understand why she's constantly getting what she wants. Within one week she manages to worm her way into the home of a murder victim, the victim's therapist's office and the police case (!), having sensitive information disclosed to her willy-nilly for apparent reason. Why is she being trusted with this?! Because she asked loudly?!
Andrzej Lukowski, TimeOut London: Anthony Banks's production looks and sounds lively, enlivened by Andrzej Goulding's flashy projections and nifty sound design from Ben and Max Ringham. But the dialogue thuds and clangs, and draws cypher-like performances out of a cast given little to work with. Womack is saddled with a particularly ungainly role: in the first half Rachel is almost permanently sloshed, while also effectively conducting an amateur detective investigation; there is something unavoidably comic about the way she slurs her way through her preliminary enquiries. Womack is much stronger in the second half when Rachel sobers up, but by then the story has become almost cataclysmically silly.
Photo Credit: Manuel Harlan