Review: ​The Girl on the Train brings real pace and power to Kenilworth stage

Charles Essex reviews The Girl on the Train at the Talisman Theatre, Kenilworth
'The audience were enthralled throughout': The Girl on the Train'The audience were enthralled throughout': The Girl on the Train
'The audience were enthralled throughout': The Girl on the Train

​​The woman’s an alcoholic, living in chaos and squalor. It is little wonder that no-one believed her when she said something had happened to Jess. Especially since Jess wasn’t her real name.

As Rachel (Katie-Anne Ray) commuted daily to work from which she’d been fired six months earlier, she fantasised about the people whom she saw from the train, giving them imaginary names and lives. And when one of them disappeared, Rachel suspected foul play.

Amateur sleuthing, albeit while almost permanently drunk, brought her back in contact with her ex-husband Tom (Alasdair Stewart) and his new wife (Ellie Wellicome). Director Sam Harris ingeniously moved us along apace in the present, represented by a large digital time and date clock, whilst cleverly giving us conversations from the past as characters come on to a different side of the stage in different lighting. Megan (Alice Scott) was the woman who had disappeared, but she reappeared often having interactions with the male characters.

As the narrative progressed, different levels of meaning and truth were divulged, confounding expectations. One could hear a pin drop as the audience were enthralled throughout. Katie-Anne played the unstable and erratic lead wonderfully. Initial lack of sympathy for her character melted as her history was revealed piecemeal. Megan also had a very troubled past but all the women in the play were treated badly by men. The detective (Dan Gough) had a suitable amount of cynicism and was only interested in finding the body and then the culprit. Matt Baxter as Megan’s husband Scott ranged from fiery short-tempered and violent outbursts to distress and anguish.

As well as alcoholism, the plot took us through teenage pregnancy, infant death, domestic abuse and gaslighting. It is little wonder the book was top of the best-sellers list for weeks. The Talisman team did it justice and kept us on the edge of our seat to the end.

Until April 22. Call 01926 856548 to book.

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