The Woman in Black ★★★★ Fortune Theatre | Until April 29, 2023


What better way to celebrate Halloween than with London's favourite ghost story? We recently revisited The Woman in Black which has been running in the West End for over thirty years and has been frightening audiences all year round. It all begins when an elderly lawyer decides to share his curious story with a young actor. In his youth, the lawyer visited an isolated house to deal with the estate of the local recluse and some strange things began to happen. As the lawyer stumbles through his description of his experience, the actor attempts to dramatise this bizarre tale and its haunting incidents, but little does he know that the drama may end up coming to him. Despite its long run, The Woman in Black continues to be fine entertainment and can still induce a frisson. Where much contemporary theatre depends on special effects to create atmosphere, this production does it the old-fashioned way by appealing to the audience's imagination. In the same way as the young actor animates the lawyer's story, the audience is drawn into the supernatural tale by its own power to create the spooky picture that is being drawn. That collective imagination is powerfully stimulated by some strong performances from Julian Forsyth as the elderly lawyer, Arthur Kipps, and from Matthew Spencer as the actor who also portrays the younger Kipps. Both cast members do a first-rate job of creating the dark world of the narrative and of engaging the audience's imaginative power. There's a reason that this show has been running for as long as it has. It's simply a good ghost story that is well told and which is worth a visit at any time of the year.

Rated: ★★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Tristram Kenton.

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