We were absolutely thrilled to be invited to the opening night of the Manchester Palace theatre last night. After the theatre was forced to close its doors for the longest time in its history, it was the most amazing feeling to step through the doors of that beautiful theatre once again. The excitement was enough to give you goosebumps, however that wasn’t the only thing that gave us goosebumps as the opening show was of course the Woman in Black. As a self-proclaimed wimp this isn’t the show I would usually choose to see and I wasn’t sure what to expect but armed with a glass of wine and a brave face I am definitely glad I went.
As soon as they enter the stage Robert Goodale (as Arthur Kipps) and Antony Eden (as the actor) have the audience captivated. I never expected to laugh out loud at a show dubbed by critics as ‘a real thrill of terror’ but the opening scene was truly delightful and hilariously funny… although I do recommend you don’t get used to this light-hearted tone!
Robert Goodale 'Arthur Kipps' and Antony Eden 'The Actor'. Photo Tristram Kenton
The show begins in a Victorian theatre where Arthur Kipps seeks the help of a young actor to help tell his terrifying story in the hope that he can finally let go of the horrors he once experienced many years before at Eel Marsh House. The two man show is made extremely eery by the simple, no thrill sets, costumes and arrangements. Instead, the audience is transported to another world through the clever use of stage sound and all round incredible acting and of course their own imagination. The whole audience was completely immersed in the terrifying tale to the point where I could almost smell the musty old house and see the imaginary dog bound across the stage.
Robert Goodale 'Arthur Kipps' . Photo Tristram Kenton
As the story goes on audiences are greeted by an increasing sense of suspense, dread and unease- to the point where I drank my glass of wine pretty quickly in fear that I would spill it over myself or the poor couple in front of me at the next unexpected door slam or flash of lights. Although there was plenty of moments which caused the audience to streak in terror or fright (especially myself EVERY TIME!) this show goes beyond the typical horror type jump scares.
I never thought I’d say this but consider me converted, I enjoyed this show so much and am open to experiencing more thrillers live on stage... which is a huge statement coming from someone who usually spends the duration of horror films with their eyes shut!
For a show that is more than jumps and scares book Woman in Black today for a truly terrifying (but somehow also brilliant) experience.
Playing at Manchester Palace Theatre until 28th August. The show then continues on its tour of the UK stopping at Brighton, Glasgow, York, Blackpool, Stoke and Edinburgh.