The Girl on the Train: Critics call stage premiere ‘a train wreck’

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Jill Halfpenny in The Girl on the TrainImage copyright Richard Davenport/The Other Richard
Image caption Jill Halfpenny performs Rachel in The Girl on the Train

The first stage adaptation of best-selling novel The Girl on the Train is “as exciting as rush hour during a rail strike” and “as appealing as a British Rail sandwich”, in accordance with critics.

The Telegraph’s scathing one-star evaluate mentioned the “criminally bad” present, which stars Jill Halfpenny, “might put people off theatre for good”.

The Guardian gave it three stars, however nonetheless judged it to be “humdrum”.

Paula Hawkins’ e-book has been tailored by the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds.

Halfpenny performs Rachel, the troubled girl who tries to tries to work out what has occurred to the lacking Megan.

The Guardian’s Michael Billington wrote that Halfpenny “captures well Rachel’s dogged determination to get to the root of the truth”.

But he mentioned: “An eerily compelling novel, with its multiple narration and Hitchcockian voyeurism, has been turned into a workmanlike thriller and you focus more on what is missing than on any minor gains.”

Image copyright Richard Davenport/The Other Richard
Image caption Halfpenny (left), with Jonas Khan as Kamal and Florence Hall as Megan

The Times solely awarded it a single star and described the play as “a train wreck” that’s “teeth-grindingly slow” and “crawls resolutely, maddeningly, down the wrong track”.

The paper’s critic Sam Marlowe mentioned the predominant drawback was the “sanitisation” of Rachel.

“The adaptors Rachel Wagstaff and Duncan Abel have assiduously erased every element that gives Hawkins’s otherwise rather workmanlike prose its queasy, prickly compulsion,” she wrote.

“They’ve done away with the multiple viewpoints and blurred identities in favour of endless static, shouty face-offs and painful dialogue, strewn with walloping lumps of exposition and weak jokes.”

Speaking on BBC Radio four’s Front Row, BBC Radio Leeds and the Yorkshire Post’s Nick Ahad mentioned Halfpenny was “really impressive”, however the present suffered from shedding the narrative voices of Megan and Anna.

“The design and the lighting are two of the stronger things about this adaptation, I’m afraid,” he mentioned.

“As an adaptation, it does ache me to say it, however it simply would not work, and that is primarily as a result of it strips away a lot of the story, the issues that made the e-book so profitable.

“You’re left with the spine of the story of a woman trying to solve the mystery, but the book is about so much more than that.”

However, his Yorkshire Post colleague Chris Bond awarded it 4 stars, declaring that “the smart adaptation is a hugely impressive piece of work”.

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