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Gloucestershire Business News

Review: Girl on the Train to the Barn Theatre in Cirencester

I arrived by car, but witnessed the stage transform into a train carriage and dark underpass simultaneously. Flickering lights, noises out of sight, and a wide array of characters passing by.

A great interpretation of Paula Hawkins' bestselling novel (2015), and likeness of the DreamWorks film, adapted by Rachel Wagstaff and Duncan Abel.

Rachel Watson (Gemma Yates-Round), the main character, is introduced surrounded by empty bottles in a chaotic mess, with black holes in her memory.

Attempting to cope with profound loss and unable to trust herself or rely on the few memories she holds. However, like many of us, she enjoys people watching.

She finds herself on the train watching the row of houses where she used to live. In particular, the idyllic, loving couple living two doors away, whom she has named Jess and Jason, until Jess disappears.

The dark underpass doubles as a window into the lives of others. The cast portray the present-day investigation, led by D.I. Gaskill (Nick Read), alongside clues to the disappearance of a missing woman. Walking by each other in the shadows, like passing strangers on the street.

Rachel is drawn to the road she once called home and her ex-husband Tom (Brinsley Terence). Is he a caring friend or an abusive ex? Is Rachel jealous of his new wife Anna (Emily Tucker) and baby Evie?

The missing woman, Megan Hipwell (Sophie Walter) appear the opposite of the alcoholic riding the train to nowhere. She is caught in her own predicament, yet her struggles parallel those Rachel has experienced. Loss, grief, abandonment, loneliness.

D.I. Gaskill pursues the truth, bringing humour and understanding to troubled individuals. Megan's husband Scott (Claudius Peters) adds more questions and complications.

In the office of therapist, Dr Kamal Abdic (Kareem Nasif), Megan and Rachel present two emotive monologues in one scene, recalling painful memories.

Everyone has secrets, and dark thoughts sometimes too.

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