LIFE has become something of an endurance test for Rachel Watson. Divorced and childless, she’s forced to watch as her ex-husband, Tom, flaunts his seemingly idyllic new lifestyle in front of her, complete with new baby he has had with Anna, every inch the model suburban wife.
Rachel, played by former Eastenders star Samantha Womack, seeks solace in the bottle and in a bid to spice up her own dull as dishwater existence starts taking an unhealthy interest in other people’s lives.
But the excitement she ends up finally getting is far more than what she bargained for in this tense and engrossing stage adaptation of the best-selling book and film. Most of the tension is confined to act two. The mysterious disappearance of Megan Hipwell, a woman Rachel becomes inextricably linked to, has finally reached a conclusion.
While Ms Womack is bound to be a big draw for audiences and her as her character she’s both strong and credible, for me the performance of the night crown must go to Adam Jackson-Smith as Tom, a controlling character with a skeleton in his cupboard.
The scene towards the end of the play, in which Rachel confronts her former hubby, was edge of the seat stuff and you could hear a pin drop in a packed Lyric Theatre.
Oliver Farnworth is also very watchable as Scott Hipwell, partner of the missing Megan. But is he involved in her disappearance? Who can resist a chance to play detective? I know I can’t.
Never having seen the film or read the book I came to this unsettling story with no preconceptions. Having seen Anthony Banks’ perfectly paced production i now have the urge to do both.
A classy, intelligent thriller for grown ups. Enjoy.
Until April 6. The box office is on 0843 208 6000. Star rating - **** Photo by Manuel Harlan.