The Woman in Black has gained some popularity over the past few months, most notably because of the blockbuster thriller starring the former Harry Potter-Daniel Radcliffe. Although the movie wasn't a favorite with the critics, the West End production at the Fortune Theatre (Russell Street) does not disappoint, with a 23 year run on the West End and 7 million viewers (and growing...) under its belt.
I dared to see the show this past weekend and all I can say is that there should be a warning for anyone with a heart condition, it's THAT good.
The play starts off with an elderly gentleman Arthur Kipps (David Acton) who seeks The Actor (Ben Deery) for his acting experience to help him tell an ominous story of his life that is bound up in a thick, black book. With the first session it's apparent Mr. Kipps is not the acting type, but is very adamant that this play is meant for no audience, just his loved ones- so that they may understand his life. After a few sessions Mr. Kipps starts to come out of his shell and plays the variety of entering and exiting characters in his story, while The Actor plays a young Mr. Kipps.
The story takes place a number of decades back when Mr. Kipps was young, happy and engaged. He is sent to Eel Marsh House to take care of Mrs. Alice Drablow's estate, who has just recently passed away. Upon his arrival at Eel Marsh he encounters a number of residents who avoid speaking about Marsh House or the ever frightening presence of the woman in black. Kipps keeps encountering the woman in black at every turn, along with chilling events inside the Marsh House, which lead him to uncover the haunting story of the house and the woman in black.
Great sound effects, lighting, and spot on character acting especially from David Acton (Arthur Kipps) will have everyone in the audience on the edge of their seat, or clutching their mate's hand by the second act.