Reviewed by Lee-Anne McCarthy
I visited the New Theatre in Cardiff yesterday (6 June 2017) with great trepidation. I’d heard lots of tall tales about the stage production of The Woman in Black. As a non-thriller watching, horror phobic coward, this was certainly going to be an adventure.
The Woman in Black tells the story of Arthur Kipps and his attempt to vanquish his demons, with the help of his theatrical coach. Kipps hopes with the actors help and by reliving the experiences he had many years before the Woman in Black he would finally banish her from his life. Kipps was played by an initially bumbling David Acton. He began the play anxious and timid man desperately trying to tell his story his way with no real idea of how to do it. As the play progresses he finds confidence in his new-found abilities and strength in the release of a long and painful journey he’s endured. Acton played the part fantastically he ensured we all completely understood his fear and torment. Acton was partnered with Matthew Spencer who played the actor. The actor was a driven thespian who knew the direction to take Kipps’ story and the way to really bring the ordeal to life. Spencer oozed charisma and confidence. He held the audience in the palm of his hand. He was able to bring to life the fear we were all feeling at the appearance of the Woman in Black. For two actors to not just sustain but to drive an entire production from beginning to end is nothing short of remarkable. They really did add the fear factor and made the show amazing.
The most extraordinary thing for me was the simplicity of the entire production. With limited set, props, lighting, sound and cast the productions minimalism gave it an instant eeriness that encompassed the entire theatre. You felt a sort of malevolence draw you in fearfully to an almost bewitching ghost story.
It’s definitely the most thrilling theatre experience we’ve ever had. I spent the vast majority of the production watching through my fingers. It was everything I imagined it would be and more. We give The Woman in Black a spine tingling 5 out of 5.
Tickets cost from £9.50 to £28 (booking fees may apply).
The Woman in Black is at the New Theatre in Cardiff from 6-10 June 2017, for more information or to book tickets visit www.newtheatrecardiff.co.uk or call the box office on 029 2087 8889.
New Theatre, Park Place, Cardiff, CF10 3LN | 029 2087 8889