The Woman in Black play, based on a novel by Susan Hill, has run for twenty four consecutive years, a fact which speaks for itself, really! Despite its modest set, minimal props and cast consisting of just three actors, the west-end play, set in Covent Garden’s Fortune Theatre, commands the audience’s attention from the get go.
The story begins with main character, Arthur Kipps, seeking a thespian actor to help him tell people his devastating tale of the curse of The Woman in Black. Kipps is a solicitor and acts out the ancillary roles of the people he meets in this play-within-a-play, whilst the recruited actor plays him.
We are lead on a long journey to some desolate moors, Wuthering Heights-esq, (or so I imagined) where Kipps has to attend a Mrs Drablow’s funeral and locate some important documents of hers, for his company. The client, an elderly spinster, lived in a lonely old house that was often cut off from the mainland by a rise in sea levels, a perfect setting, you could say, for some ominous activity to occur. And so it does – frequently, in fact- and with some tremendously scary results that will have you covering your eyes and clinging to the person next to you for dear life, no matter who they are!
The brilliant thing about this play is that it has your imagination working on overtime. The set, for example, is a graveyard, a rocky moor and a child’s bedroom. A wicker basket prop could be as multifunctional as… an ipod, (well, almost) transforming into a train, a horse cart, a bed, a chest – you name it.
Lest I paint a basic or unprofessional picture of TWiB, let me tell you, there is countless, petrifyingly good special effects and some brilliant acting, the combination of which make for a spine-chilling and highly entertaining watch! Overall, The Woman in Black is superbly put together and performed, and the highlight – the shocking twist at the end – will leave you more than just a bit freaked. Good luck guys, you shall need it!