THE moment we meet Rachel Watson in her untidy, bottle-strewn kitchen we know this character is having a personal crisis, writes Globe theatre critic Peter Grant...

I felt like running down from the dress circle and giving her a hug.

Her life is decidedly off track.

She stares into the distance and has let herself go.

Accomplished actress from the Liverpool 1 TV cop series, numerous sitcoms and of course EastEnders star Samantha Womack is outstanding as shell-shocked Rachel.

A stage adaptation of Paula Hawkins bestseller - which has also been made into a film - was never going to be an easy transfer to theatres but it works.

This is a very clever, slick and polished thriller with more than a passing nod to Hitchcock and more modern small screen dramas.

Here back projection conveys the train windows that Rachel looks out of on her daily commute.

Why is she obsessed with Megan and her seemingly ideal partner?

When the mysterious Megan goes missing why does Rachel feel compelled to look for her?

And why is this clearly intelligent, sensitive marketing worker hitting the bottle so much?

The questions pile up as we meet her ex-husband Tom (Adam Jackson-Smith) and his new wife (Lowenna Melrose) now a mother.

There are some very sharp and witty comments between Rachel and the dour Scottish detective (John Dougall) who arrives on the scene when fragile Meghan (Kirsty Oswald) goes missing.

And just what has Meghan's volatile husband Scott (Oliver Farnworth) got to hide?

It is a play with plenty of twists and turns.

It has a beginning, middle and an end.

To quote Eric Morecambe, just not necessarily in that order.

If you enjoyed the novel you will find the stage version works on many different levels.

If you haven't read the book or seen the film, you will find a roller coaster ride of emotions leading to a powerful finale.

Just the ticket... if you can get one.

Stylish - Four stars!

On until Saturday, March 16 at The Playhouse.

For tickets call the box office on 0151 709 4776 or visit