The chilling thriller has been around for years, yet still attracts a tremendous amount of frightened audience members. It’s a traditional story that feels fresh and is executed excellently.
Arthur Kipps (David Acton) has written a spine-tingling play relating to an experience he had many years ago. The concept of the production is a play within a play, Arthur is approached by an actor named Matthew Spencer who wants to help take his play off the page and onto the stage. Whilst Arthur is hesitant, and lacks the acting ability, with a bit of advice he seems to be convinced.
Simplicity is what makes the performance so effective, it’s a quality production that boasts faultless characterisation, but is told with minimal staging. This opens a lot of it up to the imagination, which is referred to in the play. When Arthur is questioning the actor on how he will stage it, he is shown that a horse and carriage will be created by sitting on a hamper, bumping up and down whilst the sound of hooves echo through the room. This excellent use of physicality foreshadows the events that are going to happen later on in the play.
In Arthur Kipps’ play, it tells the story of when he was a lawyer who travelled to the remote town of Crythin Gifford to sort out the affairs of Alice Drablow, who recently passed away and is the owner of Eel Marsh House. Whilst at the house he finds himself seeing a woman dressed in black, appearing frequently in the corner of his eye. He is unsure whether or not he is actually witnessing this, or it’s just a figment of his imagination. However as unexplainable incidents seem to frequently occur in the house, he soon realises it wasn’t his mind plays tricks on him.
Staged numerous times, this particular production of the Woman In Black showcases two impeccable actors. David Acton manages to slip into an incredible variety of different roles throughout the performance of his play, and his characterisation is triumphant. Capturing many emotions through a series of characters builds a lot of pace in the play. Similarly, Matthew Spencer who plays the actor has a strong tone of voice that encapsulates the audiences’ attention, his soft tone and smoothness of movement help the tension unravel.
For those unaware of the story, it poses many twists and turns which lead to some terrifying moments, and for those who are, it’s an excellent depiction of the classic tale.
On at the Lowry until the 25th of March, tickets can be found here.