This isn’t a sponsored post.
BrumHour saw The Woman in Black at the invite of The Alexandra.
For Brum Radio’s Interval Theatre, actor Malcolm James spoke about returning to his role in The Woman in Black for this UK Tour. Listen below:
By Charlie Farmer
Review: The Woman in Black at The Alexandra
⭐⭐⭐⭐”NEVER let your guard down!”
Directed by Robin Herford Written by Susan Hill
Speaking as an outsider to the horror genre (of which humanity has doubtless enjoyed since the Stone Age as they sat around the campfire), this play practically made my hair stick up on end!
First of all, I’m going to talk about the lighting. It was truly masterful. It perfectly captured the scenes of a funeral in a church with only the cross-shaped hole in the front of the building to provide light, being under a tree in the dusk sun, and sitting by the loyal fireside, expecting the titular character to appear at any moment… You can sink into the feeling of a hotel room, grow tense as the play enters a night-time marsh, or run like thunder to the nearest comedy production as the light appears on… (I’ll stop there.)
The costumes were wonderfully used. They helped the performers switch from playing a helpful actor and older man, to an acquaintance met on a train, a cheery hotel owner and a surly yet heroic coach driver. All of it felt as if they had walked out of the play’s set time period (the 1950s), and for the sole purpose of telling us this tale of terror, no less!
The set looked as if it had been abandoned on a mountain-top, or in this case neglected by its eternal resident. It could change in an instant from a living room, to a beach, to a staircase… and to a very special bedroom.
The props! An old wicker box and two ancient chairs became two seats on a train. The wicker box became the seat of a horse-drawn carriage. Half the items were covered in sheets, and were brilliantly used as both abandoned furniture and sad gravestones.
My favourite character was the titular Woman (of whom the programme seems to keep anonymous) and made The Woman in Black malicious, sad, and utterly insane.
Some final words before you see this play – NEVER let your guard down around it. The Woman in Black is at The Alexandra until 10th February 2024. Book tickets here: atgtickets.com/shows/the-woman-in-black/the-alexandra-theatre-birmingham.