Given its subject matter, it seems appropriate that I saw this production in Richmond, the affluent London borough which sits on one of the main commuter lines into Waterloo.
Paula Hawkins’ 2015 bestselling novel has already been made into a film starring Emily Blunt, and now it’s been adapted for the stage with EastEnders star Samantha Womack as the story’s unreliable narrator Rachel Watson.
Familiar as the plot and characters may be to fans of the book and film, Anthony Banks’ production deftly delivers new surprises and slick visuals. The scenes of Rachel staring out from the window of a moving train are particularly well done.
Womack is utterly convincing as the alcoholic and emotionally damaged Rachel, whom we first encounter throwing up into a pizza box in her messy flat.
The story sees Rachel become obsessively involved in the lives of her ex-husband and his new wife, and their neighbour Scott Hipwell (Corrie’s Oliver Farnworth), whose wife Megan (Kirsty Oswald) has disappeared.
I particular enjoyed the sparky relationship that develops between Rachel and the policeman assigned to the case, DI Gaskill (John Dougall – excellent).
“I was telling you the truth,” Rachel tells him. “I just didn’t realise I was lying.”
With its multiple sets, and atmospheric design, this is thrilling ride that beats the morning commute any day of the week.
At Richmond Theatre until 16 February and touring through to July