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Brighton Journal | July 21, 2019

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Samantha Womack Stars In New Production Of The Girl On The Train

Samantha Womack Stars In New Production Of The Girl On The Train
Hannah Midgley

Samantha Womack, best known for playing Ronnie Mitchell in BBC1’s EastEnders, has taken on a new challenge by starring in the theatre production of acclaimed novel and film “The Girl on the Train”.

Samantha plays 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.

Womack confesses that Rachel is a dream role for her, not only because she was completely captured by the character in the novel, but also because “I’ve been fascinated by thrillers for a long time and this kind of storytelling like Hitchcock’s Rear Window, offers us a voyeurs journey into a world which is dangerous and full of suspense” she admits. She continues by saying “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”.

The Girl on the Train Rehearsal 2- Samantha Womack (Rachel Watson) and Adam Jackson Smith (Tom Watson). Photo by Helen Maybanks

The main challenge for her was playing a convincing drunk ” 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?”.

Talking about the challenges that she faced within the play she said “There are about 70 pages of dialogue for me to learn. It’s like playing Hamlet.” Samantha smiles “I never shut up”. Moreover, her Womack is terrified of how little her character leaves the stage, “I don’t always take things in at first and it wasn’t until the middle of rehearsals that it hit me that ‘Oh, it’s basically just one long scene for me’. I never get to leave the stage and regroup. One scene leads me straight into another and it’s like a dance.” she admits.

When asked about Eastenders she said “I miss my EastEnders friends and family and they really are a family. You go through so much together – marriages, losses, births – and you become incredibly connected.”. “I’m a control freak,” she grins, however, if faced with the choice between TV soaps or theatre she would choose theatre; “From the minute I’m on stage it can’t be edited. I also love the immediacy of theatre.”.

Produced by Simon Friend, Amblin Entertainment and Josh Andrews, The Girl on the Train is adapted by Rachel Wagstaff & Duncan Abel and is directed by Anthony Banks with designs by James Cotterill. 

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