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Friday, 24 September 2010

The Woman in Black

I know I am very affected by emotive shows, but at the end of a week of terrifying productions my emotions have reached new extremes. After Ghost Stories I vowed I would not let myself get so scared by a performance again. That pledge evaporated almost immediately when, a few nights ago I went to see The Woman in Black.

The Woman in Black is currently celebrating its 21st year at the Fortune Theatre in Covent Garden. With only two parts (and the unknown actress playing the ghost) the play is a real showcase for the two male actors: Michael Mears (Arthur Kipps) and Orlando Wells (the actor). Mears is fantastic on stage, capturing the atmosphere of the piece exactly. Wells also is great fun to watch, he seems to know the part so well that he can play with it as he desires. His little quirks are matched by Mears and together they are a great duo.

The Fortune Theatre is rather dingy and dangerously intimate for a show like The Woman in Black, especially when, once again I had the creepy aisle seat. In fact before the actors came on I was reminded of the interior of a cheap hotel in a stereotypical scary movie. The stage is slanted and covered in gauze-like material. The performance combines theatrical illusion and trickery with a disturbing narrative, scaring even the coolest of hearts.

In comparison to Ghost Stories this play is more realistic and therefore more believable. There is an interval and a traditional dramatic structure, unlike Ghost Stories, but the underlying message is more sinister and upsetting, and the chilling final outcome left me shivering for hours after the play had ended.

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