REVIEW: Frightfully good

A scene from The Woman In Black, at Blackpool's Grand Theatre
A scene from The Woman In Black, at Blackpool's Grand Theatre
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The atmosphere was muted in Blackpool’s Grand Theatre before The Woman In Black had even begun, as if the audience couldn’t quite relax into their seats for fear of what was to come.

The play’s billed as ‘the most terrifying live theatre experience in the world’, with the fact its action takes place in the theatre itself adding to the tale.

Retired solicitor Arthur Kipps hopes to slay the ghosts of a job he undertook many years before, by telling the tale to his loved ones – with the aid of an actor.

Gradually they work through his manuscript, the younger man playing Kipps, while Kipps goes from reluctant actor to star of the show playing a series of cameos.

Malcolm James and Matt Connor set the scenes brilliantly, and there’s humour from the off to lull you into a false sense of security.

The plot revolves around a mysterious apparition known as The Woman In Black, but to explain more than that would be a deadly spoiler.

What this play does in fantastic – and oh-so clever - style is use the very basics of theatrical trickery to draw you in.

Besides the captivating story, sound and lighting cues are timed to absolute perfection and extended blackouts or pauses heighten the anticipation throughout.