Terror coming in twos

Kipps and the actor

Malcolm James as Mr Kipps and Matt Connor as the actor. Picture: Tristram Kenton

The Woman in Black

Malvern Theatres

****

THE horror film starring Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe has brought this chilling tale to new audiences in recent years, but this play, adapted to the stage by Stephen Mallatratt in 1989 from Susan Hill's famous novella still offers more surprises.

It stays true to the novel and although probably not as frightening as the movie, it offers an extra twist.

Starting off very different to the film it is perfect for a theatre setting, we see the hero of the tale, elderly Mr Kipps, approaching an actor in a theatre about how to retell his macabre story to his family.

The pair end up acting out his diary (like a play within a play) on stage, which gradually builds up the tension more and more until a frenzied finale.

It's hard to believe there are just two actors in the show (plus a ghost) taking on all the parts and their abilities shine as this is no easy feat.

Malcolm James as tormented Arthur Kipps in his old age and Matt Connor as the actor who becomes Mr Kipps in his youth are easily watchable in whatever form they take on.

The play seems slow to get going, but as is the fashion with ghost stories, they make you so complacent that the shocks have an even bigger effect.

Despite a bare stage with only a few props, there is an excellent use of lighting, sound and shadow that draw the audience into the murky tale.

The old house amid the fog is cleverly projected on stage and cunningly, most of the terror comes from what you can't see.

There's chilling suspense over two hours that grips and sends the heart racing just that little bit faster, but be warned, you may also be looking over your shoulder on a dark night for a while. To Saturday, 6 June.

Alison Brinkworth

01-06-15

Contents page Malvern Reviews A-Z Reviews by Theatre