THE WOMAN IN BLACK
New Theatre, Cardiff
Mon 14-Sat 19 June 2010
Remember the ghost stories you used to tell? If you were anything like me, you would have had the torch pointed at your chin and you would cackle devilishly when your fearful audience were (understandably) on edge for the rest of the night. Well, now it’s time for payback.
After 21 years in the West End, Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black is continuing its UK tour throughout June. Capturing the very essence of childhood ghost stories, this production taps into our irrational yet irreducible fears.
Hill’s prose could easily be the literary love-child of Charles Dickens and Daphne Du Maurier; littered with self-conscious references to Victorian Gothicism, this tale epitomises pure nostalgic horror as we see characters slowly regressing back to a time before technology, where there is no way of crying for help.
Stephen Mallatratt’s theatrical adaptation encases this terrifying tale within another narrative. Here, we witness Arthur Kipps, the protagonist of the novella, working with an actor to retell his ghostly experiences. Using the young actor to play him, and taking on the numerous secondary characters himself, Robert Demeger’s Kipps brings the horrifying story to life.
Set in a Victorian theatre, The Woman in Black brings the terror of east England’s isolating marshes to a very familiar place, letting the mysterious lady of its title continue her haunting of its audiences. It comes as no surprise, then, that there have been numerous real-life ‘ghostly encounters’ surrounding the show. You’ve been warned.
Tickets: from £8.50. Info: 029 2087 8889 / www.newtheatrecardiff.co.uk
(first published in Buzz)