Wednesday, 21 September 2011

The Woman in Black

For my recent birthday, my boyfriend took me to see the London stage adaptation of Susan Hill's The Woman in Black.  It is primarily a ghost story: young solicitor Aurthur Kipps is sent to Eel Marsh house to close the estate of a recently deceased client, Mrs Drablow.  While at her funeral Kipps first spots the woman in black and from there onwards his visit is consumed with the supernatural goings on. 
  With only two people in the cast I was initially unsure if my interest would be held, but I was proved wrong.  We both found the play captivating and the plot was strong enough to withstand minimal set dressings, that forced the audience to be influenced by clever uses of sound and their own imagination.
  The experience left me wanting to see if the book had the same sort of magic.  A short read, perfect for one of my never ending train journeys that always seem to coincide with rainy days, but filled to the brim with amazing atmospheric description which never felt heavy handed or unwarranted.  However, once I finished, and still now, I'm not sure if having seen the play hindered my enjoyment of the book.  The play stays true to the novel but uses a different framing device to begin with and has an added twist at the end, both of which would have fit right into the novel itself and in my eyes improved on the original ending.  So, maybe my advice is to read the book first and then see the play. 

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