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Review: The Woman In Black @ New Theatre

Posted by Weeping Tudor from Cardiff - Published on 06/05/2015 at 12:14
1 comments » - Tagged as History, Stage

  • The Woman in Black @ New Theatre

The Woman In Black
New Theatre, Cardiff
Tuesday 5th May 2015

The Woman In Black is in many ways one of the most successful works of British theatre.

With 26 years on stage in London, just how scary is this show? Is it worth the hype?

Based on Susan Hill's acclaimed book and written for the stage by Stephen Mallatratt, the story involves a young actor and a writer-cum-"performer". Mr Kipps' story must be staged and The Actor is to bring it to life. With the line between storyteller, performer and the actual person blurred, the stage is set (quite literally) for a play of immense fear making and suspense building.

This is a very creepy show with near unbearable moments. When the actor who is now playing Mr Kipps for the play hears creaking, he ascends a large gothic staircase at the back of the set, then towards a door, stroked by severe red lighting. These two moments alone had the audience in agonised suspense, the critic behind me stating "I can't take this!" The story would reveal too much of the ending so it's just best to see it for yourselves.

The two actors were brilliant in all their roles. Matt Connor being a gentleman and taking most of the spooky happens in his stride, the line "he never believed in ghosts" spoken of several times. Malcolm James, who masterfully must have played around half a dozen roles here, as Mr Kipps is pathetic but engaging, as his acting in the play within the play oddly gets better. I loved how the audience had to use their imagination to picture his dog Spider, an old mutt proven by the slowness of the both actors acknowledging the animal in its movements.

The brilliant decision to not have the actress who played The Lady take a bow at the end (you still see her face lingering as the curtain call is over), or be billed in the programme also adds a chilling effect.

Utterly terrifying theatre.

Rating: 4 stars

The Woman In Black continues at the New Theatre till Saturday 9th May 2015. Then on tour. The London production remains as always at The Fortune Theatre.

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1 CommentPost a comment



Commented 12 months ago - 7th May 2015 - 21:36pm

It also captured the atmosphere of the book perfectly, the eerie anticipation building up slowly over the course of the play so the intensity (ironically) creeps up on you.
I do maintain the unpopular opinion however that the film is marginally better than both the book and the play, although to be fair there is more room for special effects and the soundtracks that really get you in the film industry... and the bad Harry Potter jokes :)
but within the parameters of the theatre this was truly brilliant, and I agree, utterly terrifying :)

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