The Girl On The Train Comes To The Stage With As Much Thrill As A Tannoy Announcement

The Girl on the Train, Richmond Theatre ★★☆☆☆

By Hannah Foulds Last edited 65 months ago

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Last Updated 14 February 2019

The Girl On The Train Comes To The Stage With As Much Thrill As A Tannoy Announcement The Girl on the Train, Richmond Theatre 2
Photo: Manuel Harlan

Never before have we sat and watched a play and wished we were on a Thameslink train instead. With as much personality and thrill as an pre-recorded announcement at Waterloo station, Eastenders star Samantha Womack chugs through this adaptation with what appears to be the boredom and apathy of a buffet cart attendant.

What’s particularly odd about this play is the way in which the characters interact. Like the film The Lobster, none of the characters seem to give a damn about one another at all, but this time it seems unintentional. Even the sex scenes seem awkward and misjudged; one moment two characters are just making casual, tensionless small talk over a cuppa and the next they’re necking each other. And no-one seems to give a ticket collector’s curse about this goddamn missing woman.

Photo: Manuel Harlan

Tension is necessary in a thriller such as this one, but this play exercises very little, apart from a sparse scattering of light and sound effects. The flashbacks are a real missed opportunity to build pressure and to introduce a touch of the surreal. There are a few Acorn Antiques moments, where the stage shakes or an actor is spotted hovering behind a prop, waiting for his cue.

The second half provides some light at the end of the tunnel; the emotion builds and we actually start caring a little about the characters as the dark truth unravels. But it’s ‘all change please’ at disappointment-ville for the finale, where the play is lazily wrapped up with a corny dialogue between two characters; just short of ‘and we all lived happily ever after’.

The Girl On The Train, Richmond Theatre, Little Green, Richmond TW9 1QJ. Tickets from £13, until 16 February 2019.