Be afraid...The Woman in Black comes to Fife

A scene from The Woman In Black.  Pic: Tristram Kenton
A scene from The Woman In Black. Pic: Tristram Kenton

Audiences in London’s West End have been enduring a sense of fear in the theatre for the last 25 years.

But now the production that has been creating that fear factor is on tour and on Monday it comes to Dunfermline.

The Woman in Black, which has been described as the most terrifying live theatre experience in the world, comes to the Alhambra Theatre for a week-long run.

Ahead of the Kingdom’s dates, the two cast members, who between them play a whole variety of characters, took time out of their schedule to speak to The Press.

Matt Connor and Malcolm James are both looking forward to coming to Fife.

Matt, who plays The Actor, said: “It’s great because I’ve never been to Dunfermline.

“We went to Edinburgh and Glasgow earlier in the tour and had a great time.

“It’s going to be a really good week because it’s our last week of the tour and I’m sure we’ll go out with a bang.”

Malcolm, who takes on the role of Arthur Kipps, added: “It’s always nice to see a new theatre and a new place.”

The play recounts a story that has been haunting Arthur Kipps for 30 years.

Malcolm explained: “He (Kipps) is a guy who was a solicitor and 30 years ago as a young man he went through a very traumatic experience.

“He went to sort out the papers of a client and when he did, strange things happened and he had an encounter with The Woman in Black.

“Thirty years later he is still affected by it.

“He’s not told anyone about it and he decides to have one last attempt to save his sanity.

“He writes it down and then hires an actor to read it.”

“But the actor has a great idea of doing it in a play,” continues Matt, who plays what he describes as a “young, super confident guy”.

“He will be the young Arthur and Arthur Kipps will play all the other parts.

“He takes on the role of actor and director and coaxes a performance out of Kipps, who gets deeper into the story and things start to happen.”

The theatre production was adapted from Susan Hill’s novel of the same name by Stephen Mallatratt.

The Woman in Black has been running for 25 years in the West End, why do you think it’s still so popular today and has stood the test of time?

“It’s a combination of many different things,” said Matt.

“The stage show is a really faithful adaptation of the novel and the novel is a really good read first and foremost.

“It’s one of the most unique pieces of theatre I have ever seen.

“I remember seeing it as a student when I was 19.

“It’s really unique to be genuinely frightened in the theatre. I don’t know any other play that can do it.

“The writing and the lighting and the sound come together to make that experience.

“People seem to enjoy having a bit of a fright.

“I’m sure it’s got at least another 25 years in it yet.”

Both actors agreed that the audience reaction changes every night.

Malcolm continued: “Usually there are a lot of gasps and swear words from the audience, but every audience is different.

“It’s tense and at times you can hear a pin drop. It’s fear in a good way and anyone that likes a good horror film or a ride on the fun fair is going to get maximum enjoyment.”

“We just had our 200th show and now we’re really familiar with where the big screams are going to happen.

“Occasionally we get screams where we’re not ready for them.

“Those are the ones that we have got to watch as they can make us jump.

“Sometimes we get people swearing, and we can sometimes see people clinging to each other and people hiding behind their coats.

“It’s not like doing a Shakespeare play that’s for sure!”