Reviewed: The Woman In Black at Theatre Royal Windsor

Published: 23 Oct 2012 09:300 comments

On Monday night I went to see the opening night of Stephen Mallatratt's stage adaptation of The Woman In Black at Theatre Royal Windsor. It was to be the third time I had seen this classic chiller and, knowing how terrifying it is, I was as excited and fearful as the first time round.

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I sat in my seat, surrounded by students buzzing at the chance to see live theatre, and deliberating over how scared they would be after seeing the 2012 film. I allowed myself a knowing chuckle, having experienced the haunting horror unleashed before.

There are just two actors, who have both performed the piece in London's West End, and a minimal set - part of the reason this play holds such esteem in my eyes. The way only a few props and some haunting sound effects are used to create trains, carriages, beds and the fearful frights is, for any play-lover or budding thespian, an example of theatre at its best.

Antony Eden stars as The Actor, who recounts solicitor Arthur Kipps' encounter with the horrifc specter as he struggles to settle the affairs of Alice Drablow after her death at isolated Eel Marsh House. Julian Forsyth plays the older Arthur Kipps, who is working with The Actor to try and retell his story of the eery estate in the hope that he will be released from the terrible memories for good.

As the action kicked in at a punishing pace the audience recoiled in their seats, screaming and clutching their neighbours' arms. I could feel my friend shake as she grabbed onto me after the first gut-wrenching scream from the startling spector. Gasps, uttered like Chinese whispers, circled the room at the sudden appearances of The Woman In Black. Tension built throughout the piece and that apprehensive, burning sensation hung in the pit of my stomach - an all-too familiar feeling which prompted me to question why I had chosen to relive it once more! But the answer is simple. The experienced actors both give a discerning performance and are masterfully engaged with the play. I have never experienced such chilling scenes outside of the cinema. It is not scare-mongering for the sake of it - the story is truly something to get your teeth into.

You have to see it to believe it and I implore you to do so while it is on your doorstep.

The Woman In Black is at Theatre Royal Windsor until Sunday. Buy tickets from www.theatreroyalwindsor.co.uk or call 01753 853 888.

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