The Best of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

The Woman In Black

Unveiling the Haunting Tale: The Woman in Black Thrills Audiences at Athenaeum Theatre.

The Woman in Black opened last night at the Athenaeum Theatre in Melbourne, delivering a chilling thriller filled with suspense.

The Woman in Black is the second longest-running play in West End history, after Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap. Written in 1983, Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black has become one of the most successful gothic novels in the English canon. Readers are transported to the eerie setting of Eel Marsh House in the small market town of Crythin Gifford in the north of England. The story is told through the first-person narration of Arthur Kipps, a young solicitor sent to oversee the funeral of Mrs. Alice Drablow. He encounters the Woman in Black and begins to unravel the mystery of the haunted past and eerie spectre he sees. Susan Hill’s acclaimed ghost story comes dramatically alive in Stephen Mallatratt’s ingenious stage adaptation, a brilliantly successful study in atmosphere, illusion, and controlled horror.

This gripping production stars two of Australia’s most acclaimed actors, John Waters and Daniel MacPherson. John Waters, known for his roles in Rush, All the Rivers Run, Rake, and Play School, previously starred in The Woman in Black in 2006. John Waters delivered a captivating performance, commanding the stage with unwavering presence from his entrance to the final bow. His adept portrayal of multiple characters through nuanced transformations and skillful caricature added a layer of depth and artistry to the production. Daniel MacPherson, who gained fame on Neighbours, has starred in Strike Back, The Shannara Chronicles, and City Homicide, and recently appeared in 2:22 – A Ghost Story. Daniel MacPherson delivered a captivating performance, portraying the actor with energy and dynamism. His pacing was impeccable, effectively capturing the character’s enthusiasm. MacPherson also skillfully created contrast, masterfully building tension and suspense at key moments.

The sound design of The Woman in Black was skillfully crafted to deliver spine-chilling moments, especially with its well-timed jump scares. From subtle whispers to sudden, startling sounds, the audio effects heightened the suspense and added depth to the eerie atmosphere. It’s worth noting that for those who are easily frightened, this show might be a bit too intense.

The set design was both simple and effective, cleverly transforming to depict the various locations in the story. With minimalistic yet evocative elements, each scene came to life authentically. This creative approach not only showcased the production’s versatility but also drew the audience deeper into the story, making for a truly immersive experience.

Don’t miss The Woman in Black at the Athenaeum Theatre for an unforgettable theatrical experience. Whether you are a fan of gothic horror or simply enjoy a well-crafted suspenseful drama, this production is a must-see.

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Written by: Michael Kent

Images by: Justin Nicholas