Review - The Girl On The Train - Upstairs at the Gatehouse, London

The Girl On The Train

Building on the best-selling novel by Paula Hawkins and the following successful film, The Girl on the Train tells the story of Rachel Watson, a woman whose life has fallen off the rails and is desperate to get back on track.  However, her alcohol-fuelled life leaves gaps in her memory.  Katie Ray gives a strong, convincing performance as Rachel, carrying the production with a mix of fragility, humour and dogged determination to fill in the gaps in her story.  This is a good thing as she is on stage throughout the show. 

As we enter Upstairs at the Gatehouse we are struck how the space has been transformed by an interesting set that begins to suggest the ongoing metaphor that every person has something missing from their character – be that memory, hopes or relationship.  In fact, the mirrored surfaces on stage invite the audience to reflect what’s missing from their own lives.  This draws the audience in to begin with, but you find yourself becoming more and more forensic as the story progresses, trying to figure out exactly what is missing from each character.

Creative lighting and sound design by Seb Blaber and Sam Glossop help the audience to know exactly where they are in the story.  We are easily transported into flashback, and the tension is built with an underlying and relentless drone sound that tells you this story is not going to end well – but we won’t know just how until the last. The set invites the audience to do some of the work, as it is static with mere suggestion from the cast as to where you are in any given moment.  Cast and audience together create the tension and tell the story. 

There are strong performances from Tori Hargreaves, Chrystine Symone  and Tom Gordon although it is fair to say that the overall production hasn’t quite reached its destination, and feels as though it is warming up into something really good.

*** 1/2 stars that feels like it had potential to blossom into a 4.

This production was reviewed on the 9th June 2022.  The Girl on the Train is playing at Upstairs at the Gatehouse, London until 3rd July 2022.   Tickets available here: Ticketsolve - Upstairs At The Gatehouse

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