We wanted to see Woman in Black for quite a while and so on the 3rd of December we walked pass the crowds of Covent Garden on our way to Fortune Theatre. A cold Friday morning, followed by a freezing night even though we were wrapped in knitted scarfs and gloves, so we made our way inside although it was still quite early for the show to begin.
We were welcomed by a very friendly staff and as we headed towards the first raw, we quickly glanced over the two versions of the programme (I’ll return to this later). Having a front row seat comes with a lot of stress and responsibility, if you ask me. Of course, one has the privilege of the immediate contact with the actors with no tall people or massive haircuts blocking the view. At the same time though, one has to be very careful in their expressions and movements overall to avoid disturbing the actors and people behind them. All these were not a problem though. The real issue for me – as a person who cannot be described as tall- was that I simply could not see. I had to stretch my neck to be able to have a clear view of the stage and mind you, I was sitting on two coats already. I managed to go home hurting in the end. My advice to you? Plan ahead and do not be ashamed to bring a little cushion with you, if you feel you need one.
This was the first and only unpleasant experience of an evening that was otherwise really smooth and fun. The play-Woman in Black- is a classic ghost story with a relatively simple plot. You do not expect many surprises but you do expect (or wish for) a good old fright to put you in the mood and believe me, this they do!
The actors should be commended for their interpretations. Natural and convincing without unnecessary pompous expressions or voices while relying heavily on their talent and capabilities given the (purposeful) absence of a rich theatrical setting. The suspense was building up moment by moment. To this end, the lighting designer worked miracles and the recorded sounds created a dramatic and eerie atmosphere that brought chills to our spines every single time. Even when we thought we were expecting for something to happen, they still managed to make us jump. With today’s technology in mind and thinking how accustomed people are to suspenseful, extravagant scenes, it is no piece of cake to direct a play that keeps the undivided attention of the audience. Bravo!
Was there something that I did not like about the play? Hm, no not really, although I would have preferred a more brief introduction in the first part. You see, Woman in Black, is kind of a play within a play, which works perfectly for the unfolding of the plot. However I do think that the introductory scenes could have moved a bit quicker. My friend did not share the same opinion, so I’d say that this is only a minor detail and in no way should it keep you from booking your tickets asap!
During intermission we bought our programmes. We do see a lot of plays but we only buy programmes of those we really like. You could choose between the regular programme or ”splash out” a couple of pounds more and go for the ten-year anniversary bigger in size and illustrated version (which is what we did). Highly recommended!
Duration: 2 hours (incl. interval)
Age guidance: 12+
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Watch the trailer!