REVIEW: STRANGERS ON A TRAIN (New Victoria Theatre) ★★★
Guy Haines and Charles Bruno meet on a train and, because they are strangers, they think they can say anything while chatting. Bruno suggests that they could get away with murder – he could kill Guy’s unfaithful wife while Guy could eliminate his hated father, There would be no motive, and in effect a perfect alibi.
I found the first half of Strangers On A Train overly long and lacked some much needed suspense and action. The second half continued to drag on at a snails pace and sadly for me, never quite managed to evoke the tension it so desperately needed, producing a play ultimately with very little drama and pace.
Christopher Harper delivered a chilling and menacing performance as Charles Bruno as he gradually becomes more and more obsessive and menacing, with the hatred for his father and the unhealthy love he feels for his mother (played sympathetically by Helen Anderson). There are good performances from Hannah Tointon as Guy’s fiancée, Anne Faulkner and Jack Ashton as Guy Haines.
For me the real star of the evening though was David Woodhead’s set design which managed to incorporate a speeding train, Haines’s office, Bruno’s mansion and home all in one single system as rooms appear and disappear.
One of the issues that frustrated me, was that when any of the action took place off centre of the stage, the actors could not be seen by large sections of the audience and this was more than a little irritating at times.
Reviewed by Neil Mcfarlane
Photo: Simon Button