It’s nearly halloween, and there are some spooky shows haunting theatreland, one that springs to mind instantly is The Woman in Black! Amy catches up with Matthew Spencer who is currently starring as The Actor in the West End production.
Hi Matthew, you recently returned to the cast of The Woman in Black, how has it been going?
It’s great, thanks for asking! We’ve been having a brilliant time scaring audiences again. It’s a great show with lots to surprise, intrigue and entertain and we’ve been having amazing responses which makes our job so much easier!
What made you want to return to the role?
It’s an excellent play firstly and an honour to be part of this classic piece of theatre. It’s also a rare opportunity to really ply your trade as an actor. With multiple roles, laughs, jumps, very clever storytelling and a real and demanding emotional journey, it’s a challenge, a challenge that I love every time. We use minimal costume, lighting and sound effects to create many different settings and characters and slowly and expertly bring the audience along for the ride.
For anyone that’s never seen the show, can you give a brief synopsis?
Adapted from the brilliant novel by Susan Hill, this is a play about an event that happened to a man called Arthur Kipps many years ago. A harrowing and ghostly happening that even after many years is still haunting him. He decides that he needs to tell this story to help lay to rest this horrible experience and so he employs an actor, me, to help him tell his story.
You play The Actor, tell us about this role.
So the Actor has been employed by Arthur Kipps to tell this story, and naturally, being an ambitious and aspiring actor, he decides that the best way to tell it would be with him playing the main part, Arthur. Of course. It’s a lot of fun as we get to see those transitions from ‘actors’ to ‘characters’ on stage and bit by bit the story takes over and we are in the world of Crythin Gifford, where these events happened.
What makes The Woman in Black the perfect show to see at Halloween?
Well, it’s a ghostly story, with tension, jumps and it keeps you on the edge of your seat, waiting for what you might see or not see next…
Has The Woman in Black ever made you jump?
I have had some genuinely jumpy and chilling moments personally in the show, but without giving too much away you’ll have to come and see it for yourself!
And finally, why should people book a ticket to The Woman in Black this spooky season?
It’s a great piece of storytelling and showcase for the craft of what it is to be an actor, a love letter to live theatre with the audience very much part of the story. I think anyone would enjoy it, young (not too young) or old and there’s a reason the show is in its 33rd year!