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Review: The Girl On The Train, Norwich Theatre Royal

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For those asked to do The Girl On The Train in charades, it's been a book, a film and now a play and it is in this latest version that appears in Norfolk this week.

A true publishing sensation when it appeared in 2015, Paula Hawkins' novel has been stylishly adapted here by Rachel Wagstaff and Duncan Abel, with a production heading for a short West End run in the middle of this tour.

Samantha Womack (of EastEnders fame) plays Rachel Watson, a woman who has spiralled into drunkeness following the collapse of her marriage to Tom (Adam Jackson-Smith) and his subsequent remarriage to Anna (Lowenna Melrose).

She finds herself in the middle of a whodunnit after Megan, a neighbour of Tom and Anna, goes missing.

Samantha Womack as Rachel in The Girl On The Train
Samantha Womack as Rachel in The Girl On The Train

As she can't remember what she's forgotten, she's not a lot of use to DI Gaskell (John Dougall) as he investigates the disappearance other than as a suspect, particularly as she grows close to Megan's partner Scott (Oliver Farnworth, who played Andy Carver in Coronation Street).

There are the usual red herrings and false trail in a psychological thriller that does much to update Patrick Hamilton's Gaslight.

It gets a little shouty towards the end but this is a first-class production, which despite the essential dark nature of the piece, even delivers (a la Hitchcock) more than a few laughs, with Ms Womack leading from the front with a tour-de-force of a performance.

Samantha Womack and Adam Jackson Smith
Samantha Womack and Adam Jackson Smith

Well worth getting over to see. The play runs until Saturday.

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