The Woman in Black – Fortune Theatre – Review (BOO!)

1 Comment

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The Woman in Black is a perennial favourite in the West End. Judging by the packed out crowd that was there when I recently saw it, I can’t see its successful run of 26 years abating anytime soon. I have to say I think that is helped by it being on the GCSE syllabus, the vast majority that were there were student (both UK and foreign) groups. They were on their best behaviour though and judging from the shrieks and screams got into the spirit of the show.

I found it an enjoyable evening out. The ghost story is told in an imaginative way. Arthur Kipps has hired the help of a young actor to help him tell his experiences and ghost story to enable him to exorcise it from his life and help with the catharsis needed.

Don't turn the lights out. ©Tristram Kenton 09/12 (3 Raveley Street, LONDON NW5 2HX TEL 0207 267 5550  Mob 07973 617 355)email: tristram@tristramkenton.com

Don’t turn the lights out.
©Tristram Kenton

Thus follows the tale being told by the cast of two playing all the parts. Whilst it is a ghost story there are a few laughs along the way. I enjoyed the way the Julian Forsyth and Anthony Eden played the various other roles and brought them to life.

©Tristram Kenton

©Tristram Kenton

Is it scary though? Personally I didn’t think so, it’s more like a ghost train, a few “boo!” moments that make you jump in a few places (although several of those I thought were easy to telegraph) but there is nothing foreboding or sinister about it. I felt it veered into the realm of cliché far too often. The title character is just not scary enough.

If you fancy a different night out compared to the array of musicals in the West End then The Woman in Black is a good option, just don’t expect it to send too many shivers down your spine.

STARS : ★ ★ ★

Thanks to London Theatres for the ticket.

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War Horse – A Thoroughbred of Theatre.

3 Comments

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In recent years the NT production of War Horse has been wowing audiences throughout the world. It’s been on my “must see” list for the last few years but I’ve never got round to seeing it (that is being rectified tonight!).

I’ve found it an interesting production to watch as it has blossomed, becoming a resident show in London’s West End and then seeing it become a global export and sensation. In many ways it vindicates the public funding the NT receives as it has brought in much more than ever it took of public funding and must have repaid that back in tax tenfold (if not more) by now.

I’m pleased that it has also been able to be taken overseas. I’ve said numerous times on this blog how I hold the NT in high esteem and I’m glad its theatrical magic is being seen by those unable to make it to the Southbank in London.

A recent social media Q&A with author Michael Morpurgo also showed how this production is engaging with its audience. I was especially intrigued that the author has made cameo appearances in the play in the West End, Broadway, Canada, Australia and Salford! The life this production has outside of its stage confines is impressive. Whether it is engaging the writer via social media or Joey the horse appearing at national events, this show pops up all over the place, not in a tacky marketing way but as something people identify and engage with.

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The way the production has touched people across the spectrum of age and nationality again shows the power that theatre can have when all the pieces of writing, direction, cast and staging come together causing alchemy to occur. It happens only rarely and the NT is perhaps one of the best theatrical crucibles we have that achieves it regularly.

I know that many of my regular readers will be glad I am finally going to see the show (especially my antipodean friend Simon Parris!) . The review will follow soon. I’m excited to get to see this theatrical thoroughbred and I salute the success it has been and continues to be for British Theatre in the world today.