Standing At Platform Severn We Have Murder Afoot!

Simon Friend, Amblin Partners and Josh Armstrong Present,

The Girl On The Train

Theatre Severn

Monday 27th – Saturday June 1st (Matinee Saturday 14.30)


The Girl on The Train is a publishing phenomenon explains the programme, further telling us that Paula Hawkins’ book sold a million copies within two months of its publication. A new thriller for a new century and the news is it is as good if not better than a lot of thrillers back when the years began with a 19. It is a fresh and modern tale of murder and high suspense.

As reviewer it is not my intention to leak any of the plot to you as it would spoil your enjoyment, however enjoyment would be the right adjective to employ as this one is a cracker.

A fantastically able cast led by Samantha Womack (Eastenders) and Oliver Farnworth (Coronation Street) found tension, pace and pathos in equal measure. All three  are called for and this superbly cast list of players are all so incredibly well ready for any challenge.

If we are to start looking at the characters in this piece, drawn well by the writers but expertly brought to life by the actors. Total character immersion is the style for this Stanislavskian piece, in other words, the build up of character and their foibles are all crucial. One should always remember nothing should happen on stage by accident. Nothing did, instead there was clear evidence of a brilliant director’s hand, in this instance, Anthony Banks, whose Director’s hand is as steady and delicate as a porcelain painter: Just little tweaks of pressure and tension, when and where ever necessary. It gives a great and realistic feel to the piece.

All cast were so admirably professional and all gave as much as each other, no weak links these guys can act and to hold one above the other on grounds of merit would not be possible. This a tuned in cast. To achieve that sort of cohesion takes hours of work, hours of long tube rides to work  and back, hours of line learning, hours of worry as the show approaches and hours of excitement on opening night. It is a roller coaster of a ride for an actor to play in such a large tour (110 performances) Seeing the final bit of the process, The Show is just the final test for the performer. Audiences know nothing of the work that goes in, but if the work didn’t go in the audience would find out fairly quickly. Funny how we all expect excellence and whinge when we don’t get it! There is no space for any whinging here about this well honed troupe.

Design alone plays a wonderful part in this show. It has to, and it sure does. The set is probably the cleverest piece of kit to have graced Theatre Severn's stage for some time, it silently, seamlessly and smoothly offers up more than four quite different acting spaces and the moving train effect is genius.

However lighting and sound design also show that the guys in design know exactly what they are doing and it shows. The lighting set and soundscape turn this great show into a brilliant show. Everyone has given of their best and the evidence is stacked up to prove that.

This cast are here all week and are certainly worth seeing of that there can be no doubt. Tonight I watched a fully packed house gasp, hold their breath and triumph (or not) in their sleuthing, together. It is only a truly great show that can do that.

For too long we have expected excellence from our TV’s well here we are in the 21st Century and we can still say get to the theatre and see where the real magic happens. What a great night!

This is a Five Star Review

Owen J.Lewis


Owen Lewis Owen Lewis

Owen Lewis was born fifty something years ago in the land of the black puddings. For the geographically challenged that is in Lancashire. Moving to Shropshire From 1970 Owen was brought up in Church Stretton. His first real job was in radio. After starting on BBC Radio Shropshire he became known on Marcher Sound, broadcasting throughout the North West for several years. After a university degree course in Theatre, Owen became an actor and went on to play "Pirate Bill" in The Alton Towers Hotel. He also made several television appearances. Returning to university he took his PGCE enabling him to teach. That saw him on the Essex coast as a drama teacher and latterly as a Creative Educational Liaison Officer making films and creating new teaching methods to employ on children in need of more help in their fundamental learning skills. Three times Published playwright Owen ultimately wants a house boat in Amsterdam to focus on his work as Playwright and Poet. See more on

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