The Girl On The Train
Courtyard Theatre, Leeds Until June 9, 2hrs 10mins
Paula Hawkins’s novel has sold to date a phenomenal 20 million copies. A couple of years ago there was a lame Hollywood version starring Emily Blunt.
Clearly the adaptors of this stage premiere, Rachel Wagstaff and Duncan Abel, thought they could do better. They haven’t.
This looks set to please no one, and for those few who haven’t read the novel, this clunking show – with train sound effects – leaves us wondering just what made the book so compelling in the first place.
This show leaves those who haven’t read the novel wondering just what made the book so compelling in the first place. Above: Jill Halfpenny as Rachel
Jill Halfpenny plays Rachel, a divorced woman who drinks and obsessively notices things from train windows. She gets drawn into the case of a missing woman, Megan (Florence Hall), whom she has seen kissing a bloke who’s obviously not her husband.
Far from being an alcoholic, Rachel here seems to be a mere tippler, which makes a nonsense of the memory black holes that the plot exploits.
Rachel becomes both a suspect and amateur sleuth, always one step ahead of a copper, DI Gaskill (Colin Tierney).
The entire cast needs arresting for acting suspiciously, as Halfpenny’s obsessive alcoholic Rachel gets drawn into the case of the missing Megan, played by Florence Hall (above right)
Adam Best as Rachel’s ex-hubbie looks like a villain, rather giving the game away. Indeed, the entire cast needs arresting for acting suspiciously.
I was expecting a thriller – something in the mood, say, of Hitchcock’s voyeuristic Rear Window. There’s no tension here, not even a train. What should have been a special theatre event is well up the junction.
Trafalgar Studios, London Until Jun 9, 1hr 25mins
Comedian Katy Brand’s boozy debut play takes place in a plush hotel suite. The night before her wedding the single mum invites her sweet student daughter and her elegant, alcoholic mother Eleanor for a get-together.
As the prosecco goes down, the truths come out. Anita Dobson (as the granny) gets in endless sly digs at her daughter’s mediocrity and her marriage to a dullard.
Anita Dobson (above) earns the play its keep as the lush of a mother any daughter would pray not to have, launching endless sly digs at her daughter’s mediocrity and upcoming marriage
As the cosier bride-to-be, Debbie Chazen gives almost as good as she gets. Her daughter (Maisie Richardson-Sellers) is there largely to provide fuel for her grandmother’s observations on gender-transitioning, Tinder dating and so on.
This earns its keep by giving Dobson a cruelly funny part as the lush of a mother any daughter would pray not to have.