Newest Review: ... lights go down, more smoke is put into the theatre and the story begins. Arthur Kipps (played by Ken Drury) takes the stage and begins ... more
Woman in Black
Member Name: Cuchulain
Woman in Black
Date: 19/03/01, updated on 19/03/01 (148 review reads)
Advantages: Truly scary due to the actors and direction...
Disadvantages: They aren't showing it in Manchester!
It has a bit of a Bram Stoker's Dracula feel to it when a young man has to go and see to the affairs of a house out in the country down a dark misty path, add a few Hitchcockesque ideas and you should have a perfect thriller. And it comes very close...
There are only three actors in the play, one of whom plays the Woman in Black and says nothing for the duration. The other two actors play a total of around 7 parts between them, and they are surpringly very effective. When I first heard about this I was slightly put off and was going to opt for something a little more mainstream like, God forbid, Starlight Express. I am very glad I didn't. Swift costume, and voice, changes blend well with the story and narration, and you are not left waiting for the other actor to come out while the one on-stage slows his speech to give him time to change his jacket.
The script isn't particulary scary, but it is the direction and excellent performances from all three actors that give you an immense feeling of horror, the sound effects with crying children and screaming women that have you cringing. And then when the mysterious Woman in Black slowly glides down the aisle of the theatre as you suddenly realise she is there beside you, you have to smile quickly to hide your embarrassment at being so scared and jumping two feet out of your chair. This effect is used a few times, and sometimes for comedy effect rather than scariness, and it truly makes the show all the more enjoyable.
In some plays such as this there is only ever a scary climax with the rest of the play building up to the finale. Thids play has a very disturbing finale, yet the sections leading up to this are so well acted that the feeling of impend
ing doom and nervous tension has you fixed for the entire show. You won't get bored in this theatre!
While the script isn't particularly scary it is rather humourous and some of the quick one-liners would have you laughing for hours after leaving the theatre if the final scenes had not scared you so much.
The actress who plays the Woman In Black has an easy job - she sits in the background, allowing the director to do some wierd lighting effects to make her scare people even more, and she is very un-nerving. She doesn't get paid enough to do next to nothing!