Tuesday, 27 November 2012
On Thursday I went to go and see The Woman in Black at the Everyman theatre in Cheltenham, and usually I hate horror, however I thought that if I could see the actors I would be able to survive.
I was thoroughly impressed that the cast consisted of only two men, and of course the 'Vision', as their use of multi roling and costume change really helped establish the performance. The opening of the play was fantastic, as it was hardly noticable with the crowd talking amongst themselves and then suddenly a elder man shuffling in, almost unnoticed. It also really made me chuckle as it unveiled this nervous slow-speaking character, who had an irritating habit of constantly licking his lips. As he began his tale of woe with a high-pitched and streotypical voice a burst of energy came from the right as a younger man ran onwards. The young man was revealed to be an actor and encouraged this elder to speak his tale with confidence and clarity, after about five tries, and each one recieving a multitude of laughs from the audience, we settled into the frighting tale of the woman in black.
The first appearence of the vision did scare me, as a certain energy emitted from her as she slowly glided down the right isle, solomnly and silently making her presence eerie. My friends who were sitting on the front row said her face was awful, white and dark, a real juxtapose of looks. She then constantly made the audience terrified with her irregular appearences during the first acr, all of which I did not scream, just reel back in horror at the sight of this gloomy, white, wasted face. That was until a moment when all the lights went out and Kipps searched the stage with his tourch light, only to look up and be greeted with her looming figure, staring right at him making him scream, and me scream. It was awful!
Another moment which was definately a spine chiller was a scene with a chair. As Kipps slept (from what I can remember) a slight knocking/rocking noise came from, what could only be noted as, upstairs, repeating itself insistently and making the whole audience weep with fear of what it could be. After a suspensial minute of Kipps walking up the stairs it turned out to be just a rocking chair, swinging on its own, in a child's nursery. However this moment was a lot more frightening with the tech crew highlighting the door in red and making the whole room silent apart from this constant rocking.
The only downer was the vision, because during the second act her appearences became alot more frequent and her time on stage longer, leaving the audience with an unsure reaction and resulted in a quick yelp then silence... Very unsuspencial. However this cannot be faulted, as the crew can't help the way the story pans out. Other than that, the entire production was incredibly tense and I literally felt like I was going to run out the door any second, if not for the paranoia that the Woman in Black would be standing there ready to get me.
The set was very cleverly divised, as the stage isn't huge, and the crew made a good use of the space with a gauze curtain upstage which revealed a child's nursery behind when the lights shined in the back, it also revealed a staircase which made the audience squeal when they saw the vision walking up them. Downstage housed multiple scenes with limited props, making the production a lot more efficient. I honestly wasn't sure how they would achieve a successful performance when I saw the downstage scenery, however I was thoroughtly impressed once revealed to their clever and adaptable set design.
There is so much I could go into detail about, however I think I shall leave it at that, as I don't want to ruin the atmoshphere of such a wonderfully adapted play. I hope the rest of you go and see it in a theatre near you when it's on, as it's really worth seeing. However with the last line being 'I didn't see a woman in black.' even you shall begin to doubt her existence...
Words by Claudia at 19:18