(May contain spoilers, read at your own discretion)
After several years of my wife convincing me that I should watch Women in Black I decided to give it a shot on our anniversary, in the theatre. Although I had no inkling of what was to be expected, as I had not read the book or watched the movie, I did presume there was a strong link with ghost (s).
We sat together very close to the stage, and the speakers! The beginning was comical and very interesting, as the screenplay was part of the performance as well as the story itself. There were only two actors that the story revolved around, the main protagonist was Arthur Kipling. Arthur had some problems recounting the story at the get-go, however he is quite adamant about telling it as well as quitting. He enlists the help of a professional to practice the manuscript he wrote.
We see the transformation of Arthur, in recounting his experiences with other characters. The characters also use ‘recorded audio’ in their practices, which was the cutting edge technology in Victorian Britain. During the play we travel through transitions between the story itself and outside of the story where we were shown the chemistry and afterthoughts for Arthur; as he travels to a remote part of England to escape from the yellow fog of London, for a business trip.
The usage of lights and darkness was particularly great as it was able to create the effects of day and night, including monologues given by the actor. It was quite marvellous how the portrayal of being isolated in a castle was so terrifying, as if the darkness was suffocating the audience. In the dimness of a lighted match we almost feared for our own lives as well as for Arthur’s! The fog effect was unfathomable and filled the auditorium as if from nowhere and the audience were able to hear the audio which created a sense of panic, as if we, ourselves were in Arthurs shoes. (numbing)
Even the props were expertly used in combinations of varying light levels. In which the show was able to convey a form of spookiness when Arthur stumbled upon the graveyard, or when he was investigating the door with no keyhole. The women in black was able to swiftly enter and exit; causing terror for one and all.
The performance was able to create an awe of suspense that was just right as the play went on. The audience were screaming for Arthur not to enter the doors, or open the closets, or go upstairs to investigate the ‘noise’, but Arthur had a curious nature and was adamant that he did not believe in ghosts. Even the swinging open of the door had the audience in a hold of suspense and fear.
As the play went on the clues begin to pile up, until the very end where all of the previous behaviour of the women in black is explained, and is actually driven from the desire of love as well as revenge for the death of one’s own child.
In conclusion, this play is well put together. Recommended. There is a good combination of laughter and sadness. We are able to feel for the different characters. Although you must be warned do not watch without a faithful companion by your side!