Arts & Culture In Focus Reviews

Review: The Woman in Black

Written by Stephen Mallatratt, 1989
Adapted from the novel by Susan Hill
Directed by Jessica MacIsaac
Produced by Emma Graveson and Kate Jordan
Starring David Woroner, Connor Somers, and Hilary Allister

(Photo: Erica Guy)
(Photo: Erica Guy)

If you’re one for a chilling ghost story, be sure to catch the KTS production of The Woman in Black by Saturday!
Upon entering the theatre, the first thing you’ll notice is the seating. The audience is arranged on a variety of levels, which offers visibility regardless of which seat you take. In past KTS shows, it could be difficult to take everything in unless you have the good fortune of sitting in the front row; this arrangement allows for an improved theatre experience overall.
The set is simple; white sheets hang at the back of the stage, suitable to the ghostly tone of the story, as well as versatile for the changing locations. A table and chairs sit on stage left, and a trunk and small table on stage right. The combination of fog, lighting, and sound effects further add to the eerie nature. The actors use the entire space, walking behind the audience to indicate a move between locations and to further immerse the audience within the story.

(Photo: Erica Guy)
(Photo: Erica Guy)

The show opens on the Arthur Kipps, the author of the tale you’re about to see unfold. It begins as a staged reading of his manuscript, a rehearsal, and as the story progresses, turns into a lively and chilling performance. The play-within-a-play structure creates an interestingly immersive experience; although the characters never address the audience directly, they refer to “the audience,” while we watch as though we are the ghostly spectators haunting The Pit.
Rather than playing himself, Arthur Kipps (Connor Somers) hires an actor (David Woroner) to tell his story, and meanwhile portrays every other character. With the help of appropriate costume changes and an impressive command over varying accents, Kipps fluidly switches between the various supporting characters. Although Kipps is initially uncomfortable attempting to perform, and insists that he is not an actor, over the course of the play we see his character change and take command over the show. This serves to intensify the story and keep the audience at the edge of the seat as we near the end.
This play may come off as slow build for some viewers, but rest assured that you will be hanging on every word as tid-bits of information are revealed and spooky phenomenon occur. If you like to be scared, and prefer atmospheric horror, this show is a must-see.

Leave a Reply