The Woman In Black is reliant on tradition and its influences, but it still proves to be an infectiously enjoyable experience, and a timely reminder that theatre is best shared with a packed audience. The show runs from the 12th – 16th October 2021 at the King’s Theatre, Edinburgh.
Those expecting to see a carbon copy of the 2012 film of the same name may be surprised by the slow-burning nature of the stage play, along with it’s surprisingly poetic and haunting dialogue adding to it’s eerie atmosphere. The show capitalises on the palpable tension felt by the audience throughout it’s two-hour runtime, with very few ‘conventional jumpscares’ and only utilised when most effective. Contrary to typical conventions and archetypes of the horror genre, The Woman In Black’s most frightening moments don’t come from a use of gimmicks and overused tropes, nor do they rely on technology, but rather on the atmosphere itself that it manages to establish through no more than it’s performances, it’s minimalistic use of set, and most importantly, it’s use of nothing at all. The use of silence throughout the play is unlike any other, a true work of cooperation between cast and audience to create a true feeling of discomfort.
The atmosphere is only furthered by the impressive performances of it’s two (three?) person cast. Robert Goodale as Arthur Kipps portrays a trauma-ridden eldery gentleman affectionately and effectively, as well as show their ability to disconnect from the role to act as a narrator for the story. Anthony Eden’s performance as The Actor is a force to be reckoned with, a deeply commanding and unsettling portrayal of this demanding leading role. The audience’s attention is in the palm of Eden’s hand throughout the entire duration, manipulated in the most enjoyable way by his effective use of volume, pitch and body language.
After almost eighteen months without theatre, this particular show reminds us of how much we have missed the power and connection that live theatre is capable of fostering in such a short period of time. The synchronised feeling of discomfort, fright and incomparable terror is something that can only be provoked by live performance and something that is yet to be matched by any other large-scale production.
The Woman In Black is a compelling and haunting story that proves itself to be as timeless and enjoyable as it was almost thirty-five years ago. Not only is this a show that I would recommend to a fan of the horror genre, but a show that I would recommend to any fan of simple and refreshingly effective theatre.
Tickets available here: