David Acton – Arthur Kipps
Matthew Spencer – The Actor
Date: Saturday 29th April 2017 (2:30pm)
Venue: Theatre Royal, Newcastle
The Woman in Black is a long running successful play, which is into its 27th year of being performed. It has constant cast changes to really keep it sharp and new. Something I found very impressive with the play is that it only has the two actors in it (who speak) and that is such a difficult task really. But the way the story is told and played out is very impressive, it makes you think and wonder about everything that is going on. With a twist at the end to really finish things off. I was expecting it to be very scary and jumpy, but I didn’t actually fall for any of the tricks. Some of the moments are very loud and that certainly had a huge impact on the audience.
I wasn’t really expecting the story to be done in the manner it is, while I knew a little bit about the show (I saw the film years ago too) I had no idea that they were acting it out, in terms of we have the real Arthur Kipps who wanted to tell his story and then an actor playing the part. An actor whose name we are never told, he wants to show that it can be a drama and a way for Arthur to really tell his story.
Lots of tricks are used on stage to try to frighten the audience, although I was expecting more constant things. But it builds up the tension very well at times and you are just waiting for the next thing to happen. It certainly has to be a very tricky production to do with the audience being able to see the whole stage. When will you see the woman in black? How often will you see her? Those are certainly the questions you begin to have in the build up as the first act does not really attempt to scare too much at all, it really builds the suspense up for something to happen. The best thing is though that you don’t really know what exactly it is built up to!
A rather surprising thing is that it does actually have some lighter moments and mixes in some comedy with the situations. Especially with the ways they are acting out some of the scenes in the rehearsal, the dog springs to my mind as well as the horse and carriage. But I think you need that type of lighthearted moments as it makes it all feel more real.
I bought the ticket very last-minute just a few hours before the performance and managed to get a fantastic seat in the front row of the Grand Circle on the end of the row. This meant I had an incredible view of the whole stage, something that was such a good idea for a play set up like this. I could see everything happening and going on. Which got me thinking that maybe I should at times get seats in the Grand or Royal Circle in Theatre’s instead of just sticking to the stalls.