Not based on the 1951 film by Alfred Hitchcock, but on the 1950 psychological crime thriller by Patricia Highsmith, Craig Warner carefully constructs a dark passageway through the mind of a spoilt tempestuous rich-kid, Bruno (Jack Huston). Directed by Robert Allan Ackerman and designed by Tim Goodchild this novel-inspired yet film-designed production is a mix of the noir so heavily attributed to Hitchcock and the classic American story telling, where only the super rich and the super privileged have the gall to think they can get away with, literally, murder. The Faustian pact ‘on the train’ is the beginning of the end for the gentle and idealistic Guy (Laurence Fox).
Jack Huston is staggeringly brilliant as Bruno. The seemingly eccentric aesthete who fishes with maniacal aplomb for his passions and victims. Along with the wonderful Imogen Stubbs, as his liquor-fuelled pill-ridden Mother, the two of them give new meaning to the Oedipus complex. Terrifying and uncomfortable to watch. But watch we must as they are both brilliant in their need, greed and nastiness.
Laurence Fox gives a somewhat tempered performance. A little too underplayed to really uncover the lower depths of character, drive and consequence. Christian McKay as the faithful Gerard captured the mood and style of the time so perfectly one wished for a little master-class to be given to Mr Fox to bring him somewhere near to the same level and cohesive style Huston, Stubbs and McKay, who all inhabited the heightened realism with near-perfection. All nourishing the simple, yet macabre, tale of homoerotic want need and greed.
Innovative and beautiful design by Tim Goochild and costume design Dona Granata used monochrome throughout; thus inhabiting the shadowy edges of the mind on a palette sumptuously lit by Tim Lutkin with full-on projections of steam train, woodlands and Ferris wheels by Peter Wilms.
It is truly like a breath of fresh air to see a play / thriller on Shaftsbury Avenue amongst so many musicals. This play, production and cast make for a wonderful suspense-filled night out. A dark and sinister evening with tension, death, wit and a coup de theatre to die for! A guilty pleasure. Off to see it again.