'THE train now leaving the Grand Opera House is slightly delayed. We apologise for any inconvenience for having to wait outside the auditorium while they finish erecting the set...”

A technical glitch causing a slight delay in the curtain rising on the first night of this touring production of Strangers on a Train failed to spoil what is a rather good stage adaptation by Craig Warner of Patricia Highsmith’s1950 novel (best known through the Hitchcock film) about murder, guilt and morality.

One good turn, so they say, deserves another although Guy offering to murder Charles’s father (so he can inherit loadsamoney) in exchange for Charles killing Guy’s wife (so he can marry someone else) is the best way of going about it,

The repercussions are unbearable and not to say risky as the two strangers who met and plan the murders on a train become identified as friends in the wake of the killings. With a dogged gumshoe on their trail, things can only end badly.

David Woodhead’s clever set with its sliding doors transports us effortlessly from location to location. Chris Harper (especially) and Jack Ashton (the vicar from Call the Midwife for those who like to go TV star-spotting) make a fine pair of contrasting killers who discover the downside of living with guilt.

John Middleton (the Rev Ashley from Emmerdale) features all-too-briefly as an amateur detective while Hannah Tointon does what she can with the underwritten role of the wife.

  • Until Saturday. Box office 0844 8713024 or atgtickets.com/York

Raymond Crisp