The Woman in Black Review
Upon the arrival in London my anticipation was high. My first
impression of the Fortune Theatre was; it was a very old Victorian
building, very small and slightly ragged. Upon entering it felt very
cramped and made you feel claustrophobic. The atmosphere was eerie due
to the old style of the building. This was particularly effective as
the play was set in the Victorian period. This made you feel as if you
were in the past. Also the narrow staircase and small seating area
created effect. Before the play starts there is no background music
played to set a scene or image in the audiences mind. The play starts
without warning and lights go down and we are straight into the story.
The play is set in a theatre and the audience see the actors
rehearsing a manuscript to an empty crowd. At first the older actor
was reading his story as if he was an appalling actor. This technique
used was effective and gave some comic relief at the start of the
play. He mumbled his words without emotion which was in total contrast
to the younger actor. The younger actor was very articulate and
pronounced his words properly, both characters spoke with posh
accents. By doing this it lulled the audience in to an almost false
sense of security. Fans blew into the theatre to make the ambience
cold and chilling.
Diagram of the Stage
The audience were seated in front of the stage. This was so the whole
audience would all see the play in the same way. Also this would
ensure the woman in black wouldn’t be able to be spotted. The set was
open and most things on the stage were shown. There was a clothes rack
which was covered, a wicker basket which was closed and some metal
buckets. There was a door which was shut but we did not know to where
it would lead. However during the play we discovered a whole new
dimension to the stage. Behind a gauze there was another part of the
stage. If this had been shown some of the creative element would have
been lost as we wouldn’t be surprised to see it. Also the fact the
only time the audience saw the back of the stage was when the actors
themselves were present there. This would link the audience to the
actor and heighten the personal bond.
Spotlights were used a lot in this production. It persuaded the
audience to focus on one area of the stage. It also gave a creepy
effect, as you c...
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... something bad to happen. After the
loud, unexpected sounds there were many long pauses, which added to
the sinister atmosphere. In my opinion this was the most effective use
By the end of the play there was still a disturbing ambience as I
walked away. I had thoroughly enjoyed the play and was suitably
scared. Any more and I may not have been able to sleep. I took away
many aspects of acting, which could be useful in the future. The use
of silence and torches in the darkness were some of my favourites. The
play was enjoyable and funny but also terrorizing. One of the most
amusing parts was the dog spider scene. This was hard to act as they
were pretending there was a dog but it was done with the utmost ease.
It was funny how the older man kicked the dog saying “it does what I
say”. If I was a critic for a magazine my short caption would read;
“The Woman in Black” is a play with a distressing plot, of ghastly
ghostly terror. Set in the Victorian times it sends a feeling of
emptiness and solitude through you, nevertheless an obvious first
choice for taking the young ones to see, to appreciate and learn from
the immaculate actors and use of stage crew!