Civic Theatre, Darlington – 23 January 2015
Since its first performance in 1987 The Woman In Black has been terrifying the audiences of UK. Written by Susan Hill and adapted by the late Stephen Mallatratt this play within a play entertains and frightens in equal measure, drawing on the imagination of the audience to produce shocks and scares.
Telling the story of Arthur Kipps, old Arthur (Malcolm James) takes the unnamed actor (Matt Connor) through his spine chilling tale. Young Arthur is given the job, by the firm of Solicitors he works for, to travel north to sort out the affairs of the late Alice Dablow. Visiting her house, cut off by tides and sea fret, Arthur experiences far more than he bargains for.
With James taking on the various bit parts of characters along the way and Connor, at times, acting a monologue, we are treated to a genuine spooky experience.
Special mention must go out the sound and lighting directors because its partly their fabulous setting that helps to build the atmosphere, the elderly theatre also lends itself to the effect. But it really is the power of the imagination that is the main clincher in this tale. Sitting in the auditorium, petrified, surrounded by people audibly screaming is an experience in itself.
Its a show worth seeing twice, the first time to be scared witless and the second to take in this magnificent story and to watch the reactions of the people around you