An international best-seller + top television actress + opening night = standing ovation at Theatre Severn.
Enough said really but I’ll give you a little bit more because The Girl on the Train at our brilliant theatre in Shrewsbury certainly deserves it. (Brought to you here in Shrewsbury before the West End!)
The pre-theatre dinner conversation included “Have you read the book?” “Did you watch the film?” – whether your answer is yes to both, no to both or yes to one – The Girl on the Train, based on the psychological thriller written by Paula Hawkins and running until Saturday, is a must.
I was lucky enough to be there for the opening night of the Shrewsbury run of the UK tour where Samantha Womack, best known as Ronnie Mitchell from BBC One’s Eastenders, was incredible.
Womack was joined on stage by Oliver Farnworth as Scott Hipwell – better known as Andy Carver in Coronation Street, Adam Jackson Smith as Tom Watson, Lowenna Melrose as Anna Watson, Kirsty Oswald as Megan Hipwell, John Dougall as DI Gaskill and Naeem Hayat as therapist Kamal Abdic.
You could not choose between their talents – they each played their part to perfection. They brought the book to life here in Shrewsbury.
I’ll admit during the first half I was thinking maybe it would have been better if I didn’t know the storyline but in the second half I quickly realised when you are so gripped by the book that you read it in two days you do forget parts of the storyline – maybe don’t appreciate the detail. However on stage every single detail of the gripping plot comes to life with the immense emotion and drama the storyline deserves. You could hear a pin drop in the theatre last night and the standing ovation was thoroughly deserved.
We followed the story of Rachel Watson, played by Samantha, who longs for a different life with sadness and laughter too. I am sure we can all relate to the “perfect life” dream – the escape she experienced through the train window – happiness, love whilst in reality experiencing loneliness and sadness.
We were captivated by the novel but how could we be equally or even more gripped by the play? With the amazingly talented cast, the clever scenes, graphics, lighting, direction and full production we really were on that train, in that tunnel, in the police station, therapy room and those homes where so much happened (we won’t give the plot away of course!).
Well done to Theatre Severn for bringing this to our doorstep as part of the UK tour. If you haven’t yet got your tickets then make sure you try and book the last few for the show which is running every night until Saturday.
The Girl on the Train tickets are available through the booking office online at https://www.theatresevern.co.uk/shows/whatson/the-girl-on-the-train/, or by telephone 01743 281281 and from the venue Box Office.