It’s been scaring theatregoers in the West End for 21 years, but has the latest transfer of The Woman In Black kept its edge?
Adapted from Susan Hill’s novel, the play tells the story of a lawyer – Arthur Kipps – convinced his family has been cursed by the eponymous dark lady and sees him retell his experiences, aided by a hired actor.
The production is a challenging double-hander, bringing out strong performances from Robert Demeger as the tragedy-struck solicitor and Peter Bramhill as his enthusiastic acting coach.
Billed as a “the most terrifying live theatre experience in the world” the production actually contains more than a few comic touches, particular-ly in earlier scenes – although the audience’s laughter was distinctly nervous as the story unfolded.
In fact, there was possibly too much humour in Demeger’s early portrayal of Kipps, making it harder to build tension later, but his performance was an undeniable achievement, mixing multiple personas in his reversed role of supporting actor.
Bramhill’s switching between the carefree actor and his bestruck ‘character’ was also impressive, demonstrating his skill and emphas-ising the play-within-a-play nature of the scripting.
Neither wavered once during the best part of two hours on stage.
There are shocking moments – and the resolution is undeniably dark – but even those of a nervous disposition shouldn’t be scared off seeing The Woman In Black; if you are you’ll be sacrificing the chance to see virtuoso performances by two fine actors.