Strangers On A Train at the Opera House, Manchester

Christopher Harper (Coronation Street), John Middleton (Emmerdale), Jack Ashton (Call The Midwife) and Hannah Tointon (Mr Selfridge) lead the cast in a brand-new production of the spellbinding thriller.

Strangers On A Train is based on the world renowned 1950 novel by Patricia Highsmith made universally famous by the classic Oscar-Winning Alfred Hitchcock film. In the great tradition of Hitchcock, this spine-chilling tale will delight you with its dark wit whilst having you on the edge of your seat from the start.

A fateful encounter takes place between two men in the dining carriage of a train crossing America. Guy is the successful businessman with a nagging jealousy; Charles is the cold, calculating chancer with a dark secret. A daring and dangerous plan develops from this casual conversation setting in motion a chain of events that will change the two men’s lives forever.

The cast is led by Christopher Harper, Coronation Street’s Nathan Curtis, playing the charismatic and manipulative Charles Bruno. Having played Vicar Ashley Thomas in Emmerdale for over 20 years, John Middleton makes his UK touring stage debut as Detective Arthur Gerard. Completing the line-up is Call The Midwife favorite Jack Ashton as the troubled Guy Haines alongside Mr. Selfridge star Hannah Tointon as Guy’s fiancé Anne Faulkner.

This astonishingly gripping production is guaranteed to thrill and chill as the suspense mounts.

Lindsay Harris and her daughter, Neve, went to review Strangers On A Train for us on Monday 5th February 2018 at the Opera House, Manchester. This is what they had to say about this exciting drama in Manchester…

Mum’s Review…

We’ve had quite a run of family shows and musicals so were looking forward to a change of genre with Strangers on a train. I have a vague recollection of reading it at A-level 20 years ago but couldn’t really remember it and 13 year old Neve had no idea what it was about but the familiar cast was something to look forward to if nothing else.

The opening scene of the train carriage was a simple carriage interior and didn’t give away how amazing the set really was. As the play moved on we saw it develop into huge jigsaw puzzle of a stage set with characters appearing from hidden sections.   It was extremely well staged, what appeared to be a simple set was moving about with hidden sliding doors and two storeys with the clever use of a projector. Everybody around us was commenting on how good the set was.

I’m a bit of a soap fan and it’s sometimes hard to separate strong soap characters from their future roles but we fully believed in the character of Charles Bruno from the first scene. He was played amazingly by Chris Harper.  Watching the torment of his character and total decline of health both physical and mental  as the play progressed was stunning to watch and rather traumatic. I felt amused, angry and sorry for him at all the relevant points.  A very complex quirky character with confusing relationships with those in his life, he was portrayed to perfection.

Jack Ashton also played a fantastic role and deserves every bit as much credit, watching him suffer the pain of realisation as he was realising the futility of his situation was stunning to watch. You could feel his pain and desperation. The final scene of the first half, and I won’t give it away, was so simply staged and beautifully acted that the audience all seemed to gasp as the curtain drew.

I spoke to someone that said they felt as though the first half had dragged a little but I didn’t feel that way at all. I was truly captivated watching the drama develop.  There were several points in the second half where the audience, me included, forgot that we were at the theatre, we were so thoroughly invested in the drama and there were several audible gasps and ‘oh no’s’ as well as muttering about what was occurring.

The applause at the end was thunderous after the silence of the final scene and they deserved the standing ovation even Chris Harper was heard to say ‘wow!’

I don’t want to give too much away for those of you that haven’t seen or read it but I can tell you that you do not want  to miss this. It’s a beautifully created, thriller that will keep you gripped until the end. You will not be disappointed.  A huge congratulations to all involved.  Apologies for the gushing review but it’s very well deserved and gets a definite 10 out of 10 from me.

Score 10/10 *****

Lindsay Harris (Mum) Trusty Reviewer from Ramsbottom, Lancashire

Daughter’s Review…

Strangers On A Train was a fantastic play with a tense dramatic plot with a fabulous cast with Jack Ashton as Guy, Chris Harper as Charles Bruno and Helen Anderson as Elise Bruno.

Charles Bruno was my favourite character as I felt he was misunderstood and lonely. Chris Harper played him brilliantly.

The set was creative and brilliant as every new set was created in a few seconds with no hassle at all, the character relationships build up as time goes on until the very end and each line got the audience on the edge of their seat.

I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy this type of play as I usually watch musicals and family shows but I loved it and would recommend it. I would say it’s probably suitable for people over 15 unless like me, you really love going to the theatre and can concentrate on things for a long while as there’s a lot going on. There was no bad language and nothing that I thought was inappropriate for me to watch.

At the end the round of applause for the cast was deafening and definitely worth it as I would rate it a 10/10  for its brilliant plot, fantastic cast, marvelous sets and creative, dramatic dialogue.

Score 10/10 *****

Neve Harris (Daughter) Trusty Reviewer from Ramsbottom, Lancashire

Mother’s Score – 10/10
Daughter’s Score – 10/10

Total Score – 20/20 *****

Strangers On A Train is on in Manchester until February 10th 2018. You can purchase tickets by clicking on the link below:


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