"A spine chilling psychological thriller"
by Jill Lawrie for remotegoat on 10/01/18

Embarking on a 3-month tour of the UK is a new production of Craig Warner’s exciting adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s novel “Strangers on a Train”. The highly acclaimed novel, first published in 1950, spawned Alfred Hitchcock’s Oscar-winning movie the following year. Highsmith is renowned for her fascination with internal turmoil and this double murder is no exception as the duress and stress levels escalate from that fateful encounter of two strangers on a train.

The psychotic playboy, charismatic Charles Bruno meets aspiring architect Guy Haines on a train as they travel across America. Guy is reading Plato but gets drawn into casual conversation with the whisky drinking son of a wealthy business man. Haines is doubting the fidelity of his wife while Bruno is not only incubating a hatred for his abusive father but also nurtures a thirst for his inheritance. The chancer Bruno conjures up an audacious plan that they should swop murders thus ensuring watertight alibis there being no connection to be found between victim and murderer.
A clever set allows for slick multi locations and impressive train sequences while the excellent cast bring this spine chilling chance encounter and daring plan to life. Directed by Anthony Banks, Hannah Tointon plays Guy’s elegantly innocent fiancé Anne Faulkner with John Middleton taking the role of keenly observant Detective Arthur Gerard. Jack Ashton (Call the Midwife) excels as emotionally troubled architect Guy Haines sucked into the nightmare scenario that leads to blackmail, torment and threatens his sanity, career and marriage. His thoroughly convincing portrayal is beautifully paced in this dark powerful tale. Christopher Harper (Coronation Street) is irresistibly watchable playing the villain Charles Bruno, with an unhealthy flirtatious relationship with his mother and an all- consuming infatuation with Guy Haines. He brilliantly illustrates the whisky-sodden demeanour of this psychologically destructive character that builds to a shocking conclusion.

A gripping and ingenious thriller full of suspense, dark wit and complexities in this flawed ‘perfect murder’ – comes highly recommended.

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