The Girl on the Train – Bord Gais Theatre – Review
by Letizia Delmastro
3 – 8 June 2019 at the Bord Gais Energy Theatre
Gripping, witty, entertaining and surprising: The Girl on the Train at the Bord Gais Theatre will have you scanning your vocabulary for more positive adjectives. Brilliantly adapted by Rachel Wagstaff and Duncan Abel from the novel of the same name, the play takes us on a journey through Rachel’s (Samantha Womack) patchy memories as she tries to help looking for a missing woman. The search webs in through Rachel’s past, her failed marriage, her ex-husband’s new wife, her own drinking problem, and the perfect life that Rachel imagined the missing woman would have lived.
The set design is worthy of the best West End stages. It helps achieve the feeling that the audience is at times sharing an insight into Rachel’s mind and memories, being left with a strangely intimate and simultaneously eerie feeling.
Through the play’s evolving story, the audience starts empathising with Rachel, how she is misunderstood and hardly believed because of her drinking problem: a few inside jokes are also developed with the spectators, once more giving the feeling of sharing some very intimate moments with our misunderstood protagonist.
At the same time, contrasting with the feeling of intimacy, the small, detailed scenography coupled with very realistic sound effects, the play takes on a very cinematographic feel: the scenography glides from scene to scene (with the help of sometimes visible stage hands) giving the audience the so well-known feeling of watching a thriller on a screen, where anything can happen and be catered for.
Womack’s performance is stunning throughout the play, she portrays the character’s vulnerability and frustrations perfectly, and allows for the audience to slowly come to side with her and root for her through to the unexpected ending. The two other women involved in the story (Lowenna Melrose as Anna Watson and Kirsty Oswald as Megan Hipwell) also delivered commendable performances.
Overall, it is an impressive production. The Girl on the Train is a well-directed, well-acted and staged play: it does not fail to entertain and draw the audience deeper and deeper into the plot’s coils, to startle them in the end with a twist on a twist.
The Girl on the Train is running at the Bord Gais Theatre until Saturday 8th June 2019.