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"The Woman in White" Review

by Ellie393 

Posted: 11 April 2012
Word Count: 323

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I went to see a performance of “The Woman in White” by Wilkie Collins at the Tunbridge Wells Trinity Theatre. I have never read the book which was first published in 1860, and is considered an early example of detective fiction with the hero, Walter Hartright, employing many of the sleuthing techniques of later private detectives. I had previously watched the BBC series though, and was interested to see the various differences and similarities between the two versions of the famed novel.

My anticipation grew when I saw on the programme that all the scenes were set in the same drawing room over the course of the play, as the BBC version took place in many different locations. At the start of the play the audience’s interest was immediately aroused by a single white hooded woman walking across the balcony at the back of the room, looking in at the window, and then walking off. I thought this was very clever because in many plays with a spooky air the story takes a while to take off, leaving the watchers fairly bored for the first five or so minutes, whereas in this version everyone’s attention was drawn from the beginning, as it brought up so many questions, for example who was the figure, and what significance did it have to the story.

One character I particularly liked was the invalid Mr Fairlie. I loved how instead of being portrayed as a sick mindless and quite boring person, the directors turned him into a lively and completely mad guardian. It added a lot of humour to the otherwise fairly depressing storyline and certainly made it more interesting.
I thought that the play was well presented and interesting. The storyline was actually quite different than that in the book and BBC series, but I found I enjoyed it far more, as it wasn’t too long or complicated, and the staging somehow made it more “chilling”.

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