A Shiny Life For Me!

a personal review blog by Bianca

The Woman In Black

The Woman In Black
20 December 2022
Fortune Theatre
4.0 out of 5.0 stars

Ah, a London classic! The second longest running play in London, The Woman In Black, is finally shutting its doors after over three decades. If you want to catch it before it’s gone, hurry and book fast as it’s leaving the Fortune Theatre in early March.

I have seen other productions of this ghost story, but not this one, which has been running continuously at the Fortune Theatre since 1989, so had to have one outing before they shut up shop.

Famously, the play only has two credited actors occupying the stage, making do with minimal means to create a gorgeously chilling atmosphere to tell a haunting story.

The story opens with an old Arthur Kipps standing on a near-empty stage, reading from a long script in his hand. He is quickly interrupted by The Actor, a young man who he hired to help him dramatise his story, who criticizes him heavily for his bland and boring delivery, and unnecessarily lengthy script. After a short argument, they agree to stage the story together, with The Actor playing the young Arthur, while Arthur himself plays all the other characters, with guidance and teaching from The Actor. Bit by bit, scene by scene, the play comes together, from sloppy rehearsals on a desolate stage, to a fully staged performance with props and fully outfitted stage.

The slow progression of re-telling of a lived experience, to a dramatised staging of the same story, is so well done and adds another dimension to the spooky story.

It’s such a classic of a ghost story, full of intrigue and tension. A story that relies on building actual fear and dread, rather than relying on jump-scares as many newer productions do. Sure, there’s the occasional scare-moment, but overall it is the atmosphere and slow build in the story that chills to the bone. We discover the tragic plot along with a young Arthur, peeling back layer after layer until the full picture is revealed.

A beautiful production, a classic, definitely catch this one before it leaves!

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