Tuesday night welcomed The Woman in Black to The Regent Theatre and I for one can say that it was a night I won’t forget any time soon.
Susan Hill’s chilling ghost story is a celebrated stage production of over 25 years and I imagine the atmosphere created is as chilling as it was on its premier.
With exception to perhaps, War Horse, I can honestly say that this is the production to see at the theatre. It is one of those shows that was made for the theatre. The lights, the use of mist, panoramic sounds all play a crucial in transporting you to another place and you need the stage and the auditorium to do that.
I am time and again impressed with The Regent’s stage productions and the set design is always a highlight for me when visiting a theatre and The Woman In Black is no exception. The relatively simple staging, with minimal props and purposeful lighting was used superbly on stage. I knew it would be executed well but I am always delighted to see a stage set transform from a studio, to a train carriage; an old mansion to a misty swampland.
It is a sort of story within a story as we meet Mr Kipps who reaches out to a young but sceptical actor for help in telling his story he has so longed to tell but felt crippled by for so many years. And so we hear the lawyer’s story about and watch it unfold on stage as though the pair are acting out the tale in a dress rehearsal.
The two actors, David Acton and Matthew Spencer really complemented one another and I really enjoyed watching their relationship develop as the story unfolded. The Actor (Spencer) had an air of Derren Brown about him which I don’t know was intentional but I thought it suited that certain mischievousness about the character as he became more involved and invested in telling Mr Kipps’ sinister tale.
It is incredibly eerie in parts. Gripping and full of suspense. The audience let out audible gasps and screams on more than one occasion and there was a tension in the air as we never knew what would spook us next.
The Woman in Black is playing at The Regent Theatre until Saturday 22nd October. Tickets are available from the Box Office 0844 871 7649 or visit www.atgtickets.com/stoke