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ghosts and ghouls galore
Woman in Black
Member Name: rose_haire
Woman in Black
Date: 19/02/01, updated on 19/02/01 (313 review reads)
I don't intend to give too much of the plot away here; The Woman in Black, as a ghost story, relies upon the twists and turns of a slowly unfolding mystery to shock the audience. The show opens with two actors in plain clothes walking through the auditorium onto the stage; the premise, you see, is that the action takes place in the theatre itself, the audience is actually watching a play rather than the events themselves. Of the two actors, one is old and one is young. The old man asks the young for a favour - a dramatisation of important events from his past. The young complies (for a fee) and thus the action begins.
At this point I must inform the casual reader that the Woman in Black is performed in the Fortune Theatre, one of the West End's oldest and most intimate theatres. Upon arrival at the Fortune my boyfriend and I nearly turned away; it looked so ramshackle, not what you'd expect from a West End theatre - certainly not compared to the Theatre Royal, just round the corner in Drury Lane. How glad am I that we plumped for WiB rather than the Witches of Eastwick, showing in Drury Lane!
While McShane and crew have light and sound spectacles at their disposition, WiB has only the actors and props. The basic plot is that the old man visited a haunted house when younger; this house was situated, akin to St Michael's Mount, in a sea-marsh and was only accessible at certain times. Thus he becomes marooned in the house and strange events come to pass... The fact that little to no special effects are used in conveying these events renders them all the more terrifying to the
audience. At one point a blood-curdling scream rips out from nowhere through the theatre, which prompted more than a few audience members to scream themselves during the production I saw!
It's difficult to say more without runining the plot. As a student used to amateur productions it was thrilling to see a "real" show with "real" actors in rather than people I know! The Woman in Black is adapted from the book of the same name by Susan Hill, and interested audience members should definitely check it out (it's quite slim too - an added bonus for any fellow English students trying to plough their way through "Pamela"...evil). The adaptation was written by Stephen Mallatratt and has been running for over ten years in the West End.
After seeing the WiB I travelled back to Cambridge on the train and had severe problems keeping my head from constantly checking out what was behind me. I would whole-heartedly recommend WiB to any adult theatre or ghost-story lover. Perhaps it's not suitable for kiddies though as there are some really terrifying moments.
I've just scared myself again even thinking of the events of WiB, so I'd better stop now and check my room out for ghosties....sleep well everyone...
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