Its time for my review of Strangers on a Train.
Living so close to Richmond Theatre, I always keep an eye out for what's playing there to check if there is anything that I am eager to see. That is how I came across the brand new production of Strangers on a Train! After reading a little about the storyline, I became quite interested in this play, so with little to do on a Saturday afternoon I went to see the matinee of Strangers on a Train.
The play begins with a seemingly innocent conversation, which soon turns into a dangerous reality for Guy Haines when he meets Charles Bruno on a train journey. Ahead lies a deadly nightmare of blackmail and psychological torment that threatens to cost Guy his career, his marriage and his sanity. His choice: to kill, or to be framed for a murder he didn't commit. I found the storyline to be very interesting and the concept that it follows is intriguing. I can only begin to imagine how fascinating it must have been to read the original book; it must have been a real page turner. For the most part, it is extremely exciting and really is enthralling to watch the story unravel. The only criticism that I have for the writing is that I felt that certain scenes were arguably unneeded, and there are several scenes which drag on a little too long. The play's current running time is 2 hours and 25 minutes, however this could easily be shortened.
Jack Ashton, one of the two co-leads, is very believable in the role of Guy Haines. The character of Guy goes through an absolute trauma, but Ashton has a subtle and nuanced response, resulting in an entirely human, and therefore believable, response. The other lead actor in Strangers on a Train is Chris Harper, who portrayed Charles Bruno, who's performance was utterly captivating. Charles Bruno is possibly the best written character in the play, due to the fact that he has many layers and there are several different ways that one could interpret the character. Charles Bruno is clearly psychotic and highly unpredictable, and Chris Harper has this down to a tee. Harper executes the character flawlessly. As a foil to these two characters is former Policeman Arthur Gerard, who is portrayed by John Middleton. Middleton's stage time is fairly limited, but he certainly leaves an impression. The highlight of his performance is, without a doubt, the monologue that he delivers before he makes his exit.
The set design has the difficult task of having to show several different locations on a fairly small stage, but the designer has been able to pull it off in an extremely innovative manner. The set design uses one wall for its set, with various sections of the wall being removed throughout the play to reveal different locations. It was extremely clever and I applaud the designer for creating such an ingenious set. I was also quite impressed with the lighting design, which I thought was extremely effective and complimented the set well.
The featured star of Strangers on a Train is, drum roll please... CHRIS HARPER!
Chris Harper's performance is truly exceptional. It is such an interesting character and there are many different ways to play it, but I personally felt that Harper had the best possible interpretation. From the minute Charles Bruno was onstage, I knew there was something unnerving about this character (and sure enough, I was right!).
Now for my final verdict on Strangers on a Train. I give Strangers on a Train...
Whilst I found that the writing and length of the play could do with some editing, the positives majorly outweigh the negatives of this production, meaning that Strangers on a Train definitely deserves its 3 star rating!
Think it should have got a higher rating? Agree with my rating? Think it should have got a lower rating? If so comment below.
Thanks for reading!