REVIEW: The Woman In Black at New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth

Some may wonder if a stage play set around a ghost story can ever truly capture the essence of the supernatural.

Tuesday, 28th March 2017, 12:46 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 6:54 pm
The Woman In Black at New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth. Picture: Tristram Kenton

After all, the play only has two speaking parts; elderly lawyer Arthur Kipps, and the young actor trying to tell his spooky tale, as per Arthur’s wishes.

The tale is told as a play within a play – while sounding strange on paper, it’s an idea which leads to several light comedic moments in the first act, as well as showcasing not only the creative use of props, but also the actors’ ability as they expertly take on several roles during the show. It’s well-acted and exceptionally well-produced.

After a few jump scares in the first act, the second is where things get truly terrifying.

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Clever use of sound effects and some spectacular lighting allows for a creeping sense of dread; every creak, every footstep is a cause for alarm, and the fact the theatre dims every light in the house means that there could be someone or something sneaking around just about anywhere.

Sometimes a scare may be expected, sometimes not, but it’s deliciously wicked fun.

Can a stage play capture the essence of the supernatural? Yes! It’s not only a play, it’s an experience, and a darn spooky one at that! Just keep an eye out for the Woman In Black…

Until Saturday.