DIRECTOR Anthony Banks brings the stage version of The Girl On The Train to the Wyvern Theatre from Monday to Saturday, October 7-12.

It is based on the bestselling 2015 thriller by British author Paula Hawkins, whose twist-filled plot was moved to America for the 2016 film version starring Emily Blunt.

Samantha Womack stars as Rachel Watson, an unhappy alcoholic whose ex-husband, Tom, has a new wife and child.

She becomes obsessed with the apparently blissful lives of a couple, Scott and Megan, who she sees every day from the window of her commuter train - an obsession which leads to danger and intrigue after Megan goes missing.

Samantha, who is best known for playing Ronnie Mitchell in EastEnders, regards Rachel as a dream role and recalls being gripped by the novel.

She said: “There are about 70 pages of dialogue for me to learn. It’s like playing Hamlet - I never shut up!

“There’s something about Rachel’s devil-may-care rebellion that appeals to lots of people.

“She says what you shouldn’t say, she thinks what you shouldn’t think, she’s a victim of circumstance and you have sympathy for her because of everything she’s been through.”

For Samantha, playing a convincing alcoholic who still drinks is even more of a challenge than learning dozens of pages of intense dialogue.

“Drink is like a truth syrup that removes all the boundaries, so rather than a comical element, with the slurring and slipping up, I think Rachel’s just completely unpredictable.

“It’s about what happens when she’s drunk and where does her brain go?”

Adam Jackson Smith, pictured here in a scene with Samantha, plays Rachel’s former husband, Tom.

Scott, one half of the couple Rachel sees from the train is played by Oliver Farnworth, who was Coronation Street’s Andy Carver between 2016 and 2017. He is pictured on our cover with Samantha.

Oliver said: “Throughout the play you’re drip-fed more information about him, so the audience gets to build up a case file.

“Has he been left by his wife? has something happened to make her run away?

“Roles like this are more interesting to me as an actor, rather than playing the Prince Charming, nice guy, boyfriend-next-door sort of thing.

“I like roles that have a bit of meat and a bit of weight to them.”

Director Anthony Banks promises a version so packed with twists and turns that even people familiar with the novel and film will be captivated.

Before rehearsals began, he spoke with original author Paula Hawkins. Much of the discussion focused on Rachel losing her grip on reality because of the effect heavy drinking had on her short-term memory.

“Because she can’t remember what happened last night or last week,” said Anthony, “she starts to forget who she is.

“Her identity is eroding and she describes it as a black hole, so the design is also a black hole in which appear domestic spaces, a train, a police cell, an interrogation room and also the wasteland by the train tracks where the body is found.

“In the novel the way that the facts are revealed and the sort of drip-drip of that is through three fragmented chronologies.

“Here it’s more simple, told across six chronological days but the scenes withhold information from the audience in a hopefully similarly experiential way to how the novel withholds information from the reader.”

Tickets are priced from £28 to £30.50. Call 01793 524481 or visit