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Catch The Girl on the Train at the Vertigo Theatre 

By Nimra Amir, March 28 2024— 

Based on the New York Times best-selling book turned Dreamworks film by Paula Hawkins, The Girl on the Train has been adapted for the stage by Rachel Wagstaff and Duncan Abel. Now running at the Vertigo Theatre from Mar. 16 to Apr. 14, the play delves into the intricacies of human emotions with reality through the lens of its protagonist, Rachel (Lauren Brotman) who routinely escapes her own dull life by watching her former husband Tom (Tyrell Crews) and his new wife Anna (Anna Cummer) on her train ride to work. But she also happens to catch glimpses of their neighbours, Megan (Filsan Dualeh) and Scott (Stafford Perry), whom she begins to idolize as the perfect couple.

Rachel’s situation is not totally unusual. I mean, how many of us have ever been jealous? The Girl on the Train hones in on these very common emotions through Rachel, who finds that the grass is always greener on the other side as an outsider, like making fast judgments on the neighbouring couple based on half-truths from her train ride to later exploring just how irrational these emotions might be after Megan goes missing and is murdered when she does, in fact, see how perfect the couple really is.

Rachel, as the witness to the events that had preceded Megan going missing and being murdered, is thrusted into the heart of the ensuing investigation. Yet her struggles with alcoholism, blackouts and memory loss blur the lines of reality, rendering her to be the prime suspect in the eyes of Detective Gaskill (Jamie Konchak.)

The Girl on the Train masterfully maintains a tense atmosphere throughout — using every moment to enthral the audience further. Having gone in without having read the book or watched the movie but just knowing the premise of the story, my mind was racing through each and every possibility of who was responsible for the murder of Megan — with the choice suspect changing with every scene that would transition with the flashing train ride and pulsating electric music that would accompany the drinks that Rachel would partake in as soon as she got home. The relentless pace made it impossible to not feel the high-energy whirlwind that Rachel had found herself.

The stellar performances of the cast added complexity to the characters, suited for theatrical performance with distinct voices and comedic timing that allowed the audience to delve into the intricate world of deceit and desire. Brotman in particular portrayed the vulnerability and desperation of Rachel with nuance and authenticity that made her jealousy, albeit manifested in more usual ways, remain relatable. 

To catch the train ride, you can buy tickets for The Girl on the Train on the Vertigo Theatre website.

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