The Woman in Black is known to be one of the scariest plays to grace the stage and we decided to be a witness to the horror while in London.
You may be familiar with The Woman in Black thanks to the film adaptation, but that is actually quite different from the stage play. They simply share the same source material, being a 1983 novel of the same name.
In the stage play, our setting is on old theater where an older man by the name of Arthur Kipps wishes to tell the story of a personal encounter with the woman in black. He requests the help of an Actor and the two develop the story into a play, which they rehearse together with the Actor playing the young Arthur Kipps and the current Arthur playing everyone else. However, as they progress, a third participant makes themself known and haunts the pair like she haunted Arthur all those years ago.
I am not a fan of horror in most cases, and this is a horrifying ghost story at its finest. It is full of suspense, tension, and the unexpected. And I genuinely enjoyed this show a lot.
The use of practical effects to build tension and frighten was brilliant. I did jump a few times, but my favorite scare was barely a flash of light on the woman’s face, so quick and foreboding that it had me say out loud “Oh shit”. And the actors were so immersed that you couldn’t help but feel immersed as well. We were both at the theater and in Eel Marsh House with them, all because of the commitment the actors make to set these scenes. This play really is a masterclass in theatre in the sense that it uses so little to convey so much.
The Woman in Black was truly a great show, so it is no wonder that it is the second longest-running non-musical play in West End history. Unfortunately the show closed just days after we saw it on March 4th. If you ever get the chance to see this show, I recommend that you do.
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I got to see this when I went to London almost ten years ago. Still remember the slow rocking chair working by itself. Tech theatre at its finest.