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Strangers on a Train

23 August 11 words: Francoise Bonner
An intriguing psychological thriller about two characters whose lives become murderously entwined after a random meeting during a train journey.
Strangers on a train - part of the Royal Centre's Classic Thriller Season

Strangers on a train - part of the Royal Centre's Classic Thriller Season

The Classic Thriller Season’s second offering this summer was the tense Strangers on a Train, based on the novel by Patricia Highsmith.

Not a 'whodunnit' mystery but an intriguing psychological thriller about two characters whose lives become murderously entwined after a random meeting during a train journey.

Set in America during the 1950s, Guy Haines (Sam Clemens) and Charles Bruno (Chris Sheridan) meet on a train journey travelling to different places in the south.

Polite conversation ensues with the overzealous Bruno drinking heavily and continually topping up Haines’ glass. Talk moves to a book Haines is reading by Socrates and after reading a passage out loud on Bruno’s insistence about the ‘black and white horses inside us,’ a sinister plan is hatched by Bruno with Haines unwittingly along for the ride.

Sheridan was excellent as the creepy and menacing Charles Bruno. A young man still attached to his mother’s apron strings, his desperation for companionship and his misunderstanding of the world is apparent throughout his performance. Astounding energy from start to finish, by the end Sheridan looked both pleased with the show but also relieved it was over.

Clemens’ portrayal of the jumpy architect, Guy Haines entangled in Bruno’s fatal plan is almost seamless. Clemens takes the audience into Haines’ psychy, from successful and level to broken and empty.

Both leading men were supported very well by the rest of the cast, each providing believable characters. In particular Karen Henson, playing Elsie, Bruno’s mother created the perfect level of discomfort in the scenes highlighting the slightly odd and somewhat inappropriate relationship with her son.

Strangers on a Train is stuff of bad dreams. A chance encounter between a black and a white horse and one disturbing plan – this why your parents told you never to speak to strangers.

Strangers on a Train is showing at the Royal Centre until Saturday 27 August.

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