Are you sitting comfortably? Well you won’t be after seeing this nerve shredding show.
One of the most enduring shows of the West End, The Woman in Black tells the story of a lawyer plagued by a curse put upon him. But when he tells of his terror with a dramatic reading, it’s then that things start to get spooky.
I read an interview with the play’s writer Stephen Mallatratt where he stated it was easy to ruin the show with the use of overlighting and by putting the titular woman centre stage in every shock moment.
The key to getting The Woman in Black is the simple things. Atmopshere, which comes from the lighting and the sound effects, and this is a most effective arsenal in the creation of terror among the audience.
The production values for the show are incredibly high nd a special mention must go to lighting designer Kevin Sleep who is a sensitive to the mood of the piece and manages to make the whole thing fill the audience with dread.
Both actors, Julian Forsyth and Antony Eden, are fantastic in their roles as essentially it is just the two of them on stage or the entire time. And yet the pair manage to create an entire world around them.
Forsyth’s bumbling old fool at the start is both funny and a forerunner for the nightmare he is about to live all over again. It is a fine balancing act but one he manages perfectly while Eden’s enthusiasm and portrayal of the terror is the perfect accompliment.
People will probably be more familiar with the recent film starring Daniel Radcliffe, but this telling is more intimate and claustrophobic, making this the superior version in my opinion.
It is more than 25 years since the show was first played and given that it still packing audiences in, you wouldn’t bet against it running for another 25 years.
Review by Steve Mills
The Woman in Black runs at Milton Keynes Theatre until Saturday. For tickets, call the box office on 0844 871 7652 or visit www.atgtickets.co.uk/miltonkeynes.