Horror fans packed into the Regent Theatre looking for an early Halloween scare as The Woman in Black paid a visit to the city.
Having enjoyed a run of 27 years in the West End, The Woman in Black is now on tour, beginning in Hanley.
Based on Susan Hill’s novel and adapted for theatre by Stephen Mallatratt, the story takes place backstage in the theatre around 100 years ago.
Arthur Kipps (played by David Acton) recalls his experience of ghostly goings on in a haunted mansion to an enthusiastic actor (Matthew Spencer) who suggests they perform the tale to try and lift a supposed curse he believes has been placed on him.
Performed on a stark set of only a few chairs and a wicker basket, the props are used to full effect.
A drawn out first act has only a few minor jolts involving sudden loud noises, which only serve to ensure the audience is still on board and alert.
Acton and Spencer admirably take on every role and cannot be faulted, but the back and forth nature of the storytelling from past to present grows tedious quickly and hinders the immersion into the story.
It’s the second half of the show where the production really starts to come alive. The set opens up and smoke, lighting and heightened audio all combine in these scenes to create almost relentless tension.
It all wraps up a little too swiftly, something which could have been avoided with a more streamlined first act, reaching a slightly unsatisfying conclusion that leaves the audience going home with a sting in the tail nonetheless.
The show runs at The Regent Theatre until Saturday, October 22. Tickets start from £13.90 and are available from the Box Office by calling 0844 871 7649 or visiting www.atgtickets.com/stoke