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31 January 2012
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Theatre & Dance

Will Thorp and Alex Ferns in Strangers On A Train
Guy (Will Thorp) & Charles (Alex Ferns)

Review: Strangers On A Train

A classic thriller full of mystery and suspense, this crime story with a difference portrays a deadly game of cat and mouse. Starring Will Thorp and Alex Ferns, Strangers On A Train runs at the Norwich Theatre Royal until Saturday, 19 August, 2006.

This production has dispelled any thoughts I may have had about stage thrillers being written by Agatha Christie and being solved by a detective in a raincoat in the third act.

Show rated four out of five

Strangers On A Train could not have been further from that image, and though it took a while to draw me in - because I'm not a natural thriller fan - I got caught up in the web of intrigue.

Even knowing who had committed the evil act, I still sat on the edge of my seat wondering how it would end.

Strong cast

Directed by Robin Herford, the man who helped to make the Woman In Black such a success in the West End, this show has a strong cast led by the utterly terrifying Alex Ferns (Little Mo's husband Trevor from Eastenders) and Will Thorp, as a couple of Americans who meet on a train, back in the '50s.

If I had any criticism of the production, and I really did rate the show, I found it hard to come to terms with Alex Ferns' southern US accent at the beginning.

Often the first few minutes of a play are important in setting up the theme and establishing where the characters are coming from.

Once my ear had become attuned to the sound, it was fine, and his acting out of the spoilt, drunken son of a rich bully was second to none.

Ferns 'electric on stage'

By the time he came to the climax of the play, his character was simply too much to bear. Not only can he turn it on for the TV soap cameras, but he's electric on stage too.

Will Thorp (Guy) and Leah Bracknell (Anne)
Will Thorp and Leah Bracknell

Add to Alex's character Charlie - his indulgent mother played by Anita Harris, Will Thorp who is extremely convincing as Guy, the architect driven out of his mind and a pleasingly intuitive performance from Leah Bracknell as his worried wife Anne - the scene is set for a showdown.

Adapted by Patricia Highsmith's book by Craig Warner, the theme of the show is horses.

There are black horses and white horses (for horses read mankind) who live life to the full - and they, in Charlie's mind, have the right to assume God's mantle to extinguish the life of grey horses (the duller kinds of the species) if they get in the way.

All I can say is wild horses of any colour wouldn't have dragged me away from the theatre last night.

Strangers On A Train runs at the Norwich Theatre Royal until Saturday, 19 August, 2006. For more details call 01603 630000.

  • Photos by Robert Workman
last updated: 19/08/06
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