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Review: The Woman in Black – Yvonne Arnaud Theatre

Published on: 4 Jun, 2013
Updated on: 4 Jun, 2013
Ready to chill and thrill...

Ready to chill and thrill…

By Amy Yorston

Susan Hill’s spooky tale is back at The Yvonne Arnaud ready to chill and thrill!

The stage is set, quite literally as a stage with clothes rail, old wicker basket and assorted chairs forming the main scenery.

Arthur Kipps (Julian Forsyth) has hired an actor (Antony Eden) to help him tell his ghost story. A story that he finds painful to recount but that he wants to share with his family in the hope that his nightmares will end.

Kipps is not naturally theatrical and with a lengthy manuscript the actor despairs that he will bore his audience. They devise therefore an alternative version of the story with the actor playing Kipps while Kipps plays the narrator and all other roles.

What unfolds during rehearsal is a dramatic re-telling of this tale of horror that suddenly becomes all too real.

Julian Forsyth and Antony Eden are a fantastic theatrical pairing complimenting each other perfectly. As ‘The Actor’ Eden brings a great energy and is utterly convincing as he gets more and more drawn into the part of young Arthur Kipps.

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Julian Forsyth as Arthur Kipps and Antony Eden as The Actor – Photo Tristram Kenton

Forsyth has the more obviously tricky job of playing the actual Arthur Kipps and all of the other characters that his younger self encounters along the way. The subtle shift in posture or change of accent works extremely well to create individuals with very different personas: the transition from begrudging actor to fully realized performance is both comical and engaging.

Guildford audiences are not known for being vocal but the show tonight was full of screams, gasps and nervous laughter. Part of the power of this production is that it is a shared experience as much of the atmosphere is created by the tense spectators.

If you have never seen this play why not treat yourself to a classic? And if you have seen it before are you brave enough to see it again?

The Woman in Black runs at The Yvonne Arnaud Theatre until Saturday, June 8th.

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