Friday, October 9, 2009

The Woman in Black at the Roxy Theatre

Last week I caught Theatre Network's production of the Woman in Black, at the Roxy. Before the play really got underway, the audience was already tittering with nervous laughter. Maybe due to the 'ghost' shadow created by a large coat tree, that hung imposingly on the right side of the stage. The stage was ingeniously designed for fright - lots of dark shadows, where actors (and ghosts) could appear and disappear without warning. The Roxy is an excellent venue for this play. The old theatre junk scattered about the stage looked like it was left there from a recent performance. The Theatre blends right into the show.

I went, wanting to be scared, and I was not disappointed. The ghost appearances were accompanied by sounds and lighting that shook my bones without warning. There was shock with the appearances, which started mildly enough and grew more imposing and threatening as the performance progressed. It was a bit annoying that some audience members kept laughing -- after they recovered from their fear.

The Woman in Black has all of the traditional elements of a real ghost story, with an interesting perspective - as told by two actors trying to exorcise the ghost.

We learn about the ghost gradually, as a mystery, then as a presence, and finally, as a threat. The pressure builds. And then the play ends.... And of course, being theatre, it ends with a twist - or is it a threat?

Last - as we leave the theatre - the ghost appears again. A delightful conclusion.

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