The Women in Black at the Fortune Theatre

The Woman in Black has been playing at The Fortune theatre consecutively since 1989 and has recently celebrated its 12,000th performance!  Like many I first watched this production initially as a teenager on a school trip so I headed back this week to see if it is still as fear-inducing as I recall as it heads towards its 30th anniversary.

The Women in Black tells the story of a lawyer obsessed with a curse that he believes has been cast over his family by the spectre of a ‘Woman in Black’. He engages a young actor to help him tell his story and exorcise the fear that grips his soul. As the story is told they find themselves caught up in it as we see the horrors come to life.  While the first half is a little slower and is largely the setup and introduction to the tale, by the second half the tension is high and suddenly the ‘jump out of your seat’ moments start coming thick and fast!
The show tells it’s supernatural tale in a unique way using basic props and allowing the audience to use their imagination to create a truly fearful horror story.  Fearful theatre is still rather uncommon in the UK and those shows that do exist rely primarily on gore or making the audience uncomfortable. Bucking this trend The Woman in Black uses basic props, costume and sound to create the tension and fear for the audience who sit on the edge of their seat throughout.

The makeup of The Woman in Black herself is one of the often overlooked pleasures of this performance.  Despite being relatively simple with the veil over her during the opening introduction to her she genuinely looks otherworldly.  

Richard Hope and Mark Hawkins both play all parts with the perfect levels of drama, tension and reality to draw the audience into their tale.  It is a production that will keep audiences coming back to feel the fear for years to come.

Tickets were given to me in return for a review, all words and opinions are my own.

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