(Cover Photo: Robyn Spain and Samantha Romero of "THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN" by Paula Hawkins playing at the Bradley Playhouse in Putnam, CT. through March 5, 2023. Photo Credit Ty Collige)
By Kevin T. Baldwin
“The holes in your life are permanent. You have to grow around them, like tree roots around concrete; you mould yourself through the gaps.”
- Paula Hawkins
Based on the bestselling novel by Paula Hawkins and the DreamWorks film
Adapted by Rachel Wagstaff and Duncan Abel
Directed by Josh Raymond
Stage Manager David Anderson
Original Music by Chris Gollnick
Cast Includes: Robyn Spain, Samantha Romero, Elizabeth Decasse, Michael Pray, Greg Glanville, Joseph Sawyer, Sonya Richards
Additional Creative Team:
Stage Combat Choreography – Michael Pray; Stage Intimacy Coach – Katie Elizabeth; Artistic Committee Liaison – Tonya Brock; Production Manager – Jeanne Foley; Production Coordinator – Kathleen Atwood; Set Design – Chris Gollnick; Costumer – Haley Raymond; Costume Assistants – The CAST; Props – Bonnie Theriault, Melinda Collelo, The CAST and CREW; Lighting and Sound Design – Chris Gollnick; Light Board Operator – Ty Collige; Sound Board Operator – Nick (Man Hobbes) Jorge; Stage Crew – Katie Elizabeth, Finn Haney; Photography – Ty Collige; Logo Design – Eddie Krauss; Volunteer Coordinator – Debby Thurston; Business Manager – Kristi-Lyn Sadosky.
February 24, 25 & 26, 2023
March 3, 4 & 5, 2023
(Contact Box Office for Exact Times)
Bradley Playhouse, 30 Front Street (Route 44) in Putnam, CT.
All seats reserved. Reservations may be made with a major credit card online at www.thebradleyplayhouse.org or by calling 860-928-7887.
Presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals on behalf of Samuel French, Inc.
The Bradley Playhouse presents a dark, psychologically challenging drama with their latest offering, “THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN.”
The two-act drama flows under the capable direction of Joshua Raymond, with equally proficient production elements provided by the creative team of the in-house Theatre Of Northeastern Connecticut.
The play is based on the 2015 bestselling novel by Paula Hawkins and the 2016 DreamWorks film which was adapted for the stage by Rachel Wagstaff and Duncan Abel.
“THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN” creates a haunting look at a complex mental struggle by its protagonist who is at their worst when plunged into the depths of a murder mystery.
The result is a suspenseful drama which has the audience not quite sure if it should root for its hero, pity them, or be absolutely terrified of them.
(Photo: Robyn Spain and Sonya Richards in a scene from "THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN" by Paula Hawkins playing at the Bradley Playhouse in Putnam, CT. through March 5, 2023. Photo Credit Ty Collige)
A woman named Megan (Elizabeth Decasse) has gone missing.
As the story unfolds, more questions are raised about her disappearance which keeps the audience guessing how things will end.
Megan was being “watched” by nearby neighbor Rachel (Robyn Spain), a divorced woman struggling….no, crumbling….under the effects of her alcoholism.
Rachel overlooked Megan with her lover, Scott (Greg Glanville).
After learning of Megan’s disappearance by detective Gaskill (Sonya Richards) Rachel begins her own "investigation," sticking her nose where it doesn't belong.
As a result, she is stunned to reveal that the trail of Megan’s disappearance leads Rachel to her own ex-husband, Tom (Michael Pray) and his new wife, Anna (Samantha Romero).
However, given Rachel's propensity for alcoholic blackouts, her memories cannot be trusted.
(Photo: Michael Pray and Robyn Spain in a scene from "THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN" by Paula Hawkins playing at the Bradley Playhouse in Putnam, CT. through March 5, 2023. Photo Credit Ty Collige)
Rachel discovers another person crucial to Megan’s life was her therapist, Kamal Abdic (Joseph Sawyer) with whom she meets to “interview” under false pretense.
Rachel’s self-destructive behavior has left her with memory lapses which increases her unreliability to the point where, occasionally, Rachel, herself, cannot affirm that what she recalls or uncovers is actually the truth.
This instability proves to be the guiding foundation for Hawkins’ mystery.
“THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN” unfolds similar to a classic Alfred Hitchcock movie, using suspense of the unknown and unseen to help guide the audience to where the author wants them to be taken.
As Rachel's “investigation” continues, the imaginative staging by Raymond allows the tightly woven plot to shift seamlessly on stage as various perspectives are provided.
There are also plot elements of domestic violence and other disturbing facets to the story which some may find "triggering" and the Bradley does offer a disclaimer regarding these elements.
(Photo: Robyn Spain and Samantha Romero in a scene from "THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN" by Paula Hawkins playing at the Bradley Playhouse in Putnam, CT. through March 5, 2023. Photo Credit Ty Collige)
The performances by the ensemble was steady throughout the show. However, it was both Spain and Richards who provided a much needed burst of energy to help offset the more prevailing subdued performances.
Adding to the rather pensive nature of the staging was a “hypnotic” underscore with original music provided by Chris Gollnick.
However well intentioned, and while working to highlight some critical moments, the scoring was overused and proved distracting from other moments or unnecessary to enhance the actions/dialogue taking place.
“THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN” is a “quiet” show – a show where principal scenes are executed so calmly, quietly, that the sound of an audience member coughing or perhaps moving around a plastic straw ever so slightly within their drink is magnified a hundred-fold. You could literally hear a pin drop.
The unrelenting score did not diminish but rather enhanced this “calmness” from the more intense elements in Hawkins’ story.
“THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN” is also a smaller scale show which lost some of its intimacy placed on the otherwise wonderfully massive stage at the Bradley Playhouse. In lieu of large scale sets or backdrops, limited set pieces were used.
The play would probably have been better experienced within a smaller, more immersive setting.
That said, Raymond made very good use of the space by utilizing specialized lighting and sound effects.
The addition of a fog machine helped to establish grittier London settings.
There were multiple scene changes which all used the recurring effect of a subway car passing which, at times, seemed almost unnecessary thanks to the expeditious changes performed by the Bradley stage crew.
In the end, singularly, it is Spain’s bravura performance as the difficult, disturbed and determined heroine for “THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN” which makes the complex psychological thriller well worth seeing.
The play continues through March 5th at the Bradley Playhouse.
Approximately 2 hours, 10 minutes with one intermission.
Kevin T. Baldwin is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA)
ABOUT THE SHOW
Based on the bestselling novel by Paula Hawkins and the DreamWorks film, this show follows Rachel Watson who longs for a different life.
Her only escape is the perfect couple she watches through the train window every day, happy and in love.
Or so it appears.
When Rachel learns that the woman she’s been secretly watching has suddenly disappeared, she finds herself as a witness and even a suspect in a thrilling mystery in which she will face bigger revelations than she could ever have anticipated.
Wearing a mask is optional if you are vaccinated. For the safety of patrons, cast, crew, and volunteers, we do request that a mask be worn by those who are not vaccinated.
The Bradley Playhouse is a 117 year-old vaudeville theatre in the heart of the Putnam antiques and restaurant district in the “Quiet Corner” of Northeastern Connecticut. Since 1991, the Bradley Playhouse has been managed by the volunteers of The Theatre of Northeastern Connecticut, Inc. (TNECT).
TNECT produces eight main season shows per year and a number of special fundraising events for The Bradley Playhouse Restoration Fund. TNECT’s mission is to produce and sponsor quality theatre and entertainment for the residents of Northeastern Connecticut and the surrounding areas, to encourage the development of creativity through the support of local artists, and to support education and hands-on experience in the creation, direction, and production of theatre and the performing arts.
The Bradley Playhouse
30 Front Street
P.O. Box 71
Putnam, CT 06260-1942