The Woman In Black West End Review: Don’t Bother

Going to the theatre to review a play is a completely different experience from going to see a show for the sake of being entertained. You’re scratching things down, concerning yourself with the sound and lighting, and continually jolting your perceptive self into action as not to miss a single thing. It’s a tiring experience that I’ve come out of many a times wondering whether I actually enjoyed myself at all. The best thing that comes out of it is a comprehensive and cracking review. 

Woman In Black wasn’t one for review. It was a Friday evening date, getting our jollies down on the West End. But I’m inclined to write a few words about it:

  1. The play lacked presence. There’s something incredible about people acting right there in front of you. Nothing compares to being in the present, being there in the very moment the action is unfolding feels very special. Of course it was live but lacked the raw believable feeling between the actor and his part. There was no connection between them; as though it had been acted so many times that the lines and intonations were automatic. It captured the character but didn’t feel true.
  2. The storyline lacked complexity. I enjoy theatre trips wherein I know next to nothing about the play. The story within a story and the switching of roles between the characters worked well – but that’s as challenging as it got. [Here’s a spoiler] In short, a man visits a haunted house, there’s a woman in black haunting the place, there’s an untouched child’s nursery (obviously creepy), then the man goes home and is cursed. His family die because he went to this old house and met the woman in black. Reminded me a little of The Turn Of The Screw – as I recall, that was a lot better, wasn’t it?
  3. The audience lacked courtesy. Other theatres ensure that you’re in before the play starts. Fortune Theatre allowed people to move and rustle and faff, which mad me annoyed from the outset. Throughout the play a woman fanned herself, which was constantly in my line of sight and made me so mad. 
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