The Woman In Black is a staple in the West End. Not one that everyone has seen – but one that anyone who can tolerate horror will get around to seeing, eventually. There seems to be a distinct lack of urgency akin to that of the Mousetrap surrounding The Woman In Black among Theatre Fans, probably because it isn’t showing any signs of closing any time soon, and it’s tucked away around a corner in covent garden at a tiny theatre which can, quite easily, be missed.
The production as a whole leaves something to be desired, and the hype is arguably more terrifying than the elements which are intended to be scary themselves. As the audience walk in there are many other people around talking about how scared they are – particularly those who have seen the show before – which can put new audience members in a position where you are expecting something to appear out of every corner at every moment.
By contrast, most scary moments are predictable, and while they don’t fail to make the audience gasp, they could not be described as surprising or outside of the box. There are several powerful elements to the story aside from the ‘horror’ aspects, but the production does not hit the mark in what it has set itself up to do, which is disappointing.
That said, now is the time to see this production – it is difficult to imagine anyone portraying ‘The Actor’ and ‘Arthur Kipps’ better than Terence Wilton and James Byng respectively. Neither of them could be faulted in their delivery of their dialogue and many lengthy monologues. Failing to ever see ‘The Woman In Black’ as anything but a pale faced gaunt figure, draped in black, adds to the eeriness of the production in a way which wouldn’t be felt if she joined in with the bows at the end of the production, for example.
The set is impressive, with few props and few changes to the scenery itself but near perfect depictions of complex scenes. Furthered by Terence Wilton’s smooth transition into several roles as ‘the actor’, this makes for effective and visual storytelling involving several characters in different settings, told by just two actors.
Find interviews from the two cast members of The Woman In Black on my Instagram.