The Girl on the Train, Blackpool Opera House
Obsessed with the apparently perfect life of a couple (Scott and Megan) she watches as her train passes by their house, Rachel suddenly finds herself the witness, and even worse, a suspect when Megan goes missing.

Adapted from Paula Hawkins’ best-selling novel, The Girl on the Train rattles along at speed right from the start, with Rachel updating us from her point her view. We discover straight away that she's an alcoholic who suffers blackouts, which means she’s going to be an unreliable narrator. Or is she?

Conversely, Rachel turns out to be extremely reliable in her determination to solve the mystery of the gaps caused by her blackouts and Megan’s disappearance. In fact without Rachel, the officer in charge of the investigation, D.I. Gaskell, might have forever remained on the wrong track.

Samantha Womack, best known for her award-winning performance as Ronnie in EasterEnders, is excellent in her portrayal of Rachel as the joyless, downtrodden divorcee who copes with loss by drowning her sorrows, whilst showing hints of the capable woman she once was.

There are lighter moments where Womack induces laughs with a mere movement and facial expression, her droll manner belying the desperation that drives her character. Rachel Watson could easily be dismissed as weak and unstable, however Womack ensures she maintains dignity, making the second half of the play, where she forgets to drink and begins to believe in herself, much more credible.

For the stage adaptation we, the audience, become voyeurs, watching the characters in their respective homes. The set is dark, the only light coming from the living rooms, just as you might see them from a train carriage. Rachel remains on set throughout, and as her investigations tear down her beliefs, about herself as well as everyone around her, she becomes stronger and forgets her need to drink.

As the action moves from room to room, the set turns in parallel with Womack’s passage across the stage, keeping the journey in motion. At times, clever projection on to the backdrop creates the illusion of a train speeding past, blurring the scenery.

The cast are all convincing in their roles. Oliver Farnworth, most recently seen on TV as Coronation Street’s doomed Andy Carver, shows a dark but vulnerable side as Scott, demonstrating an acting prowess developed at Bristol Old Vic and from treading the board on stages regionally and on the West End.

Bringing The Girl on the Train to the theatre after the huge worldwide success of the book and subsequent movie was always going to be a challenge, but Rachel Wagstaff and Duncan Abel have done a first-class job. If you don’t know the plot already then this thrilling whodunnit will have you in suspense. If you do, then you’re still in for a surprise as the stage version comes with a twist. Either way, The Girl on the Train carries you through a web of lies and lost memories to a shocking denouement. The question is, will there be a light at the end of the tunnel for Rachel?

Book a ticket now and find out before it departs Blackpool Opera House: 

Remaining shows: Friday 22nd November 7.30pm, Saturday 23rd November 2.30pm and 7.30pm.