“The Woman in Black” – Herberger Theater Center

Theater Review – February 11, 2024

“THE WOMAN IN BLACK” IS A WELL PRODUCED WHODUNIT

“The Woman in Black”
Herberger Theater Center, Center Stage
Phoenix, AZ

By Chris Curcio
Theater Critic

British humor and play structure are usually different from American shows. American comedy is often based on a succession of quick one-liners where British comedy usually takes time to build before the laughs begin.  A prime example of these distinctions is the long-running British whodunit “A Woman in Black” which the Herberger Theater Center has imported from London where it just ended a 33-year run as one of the West End’s longest running shows.

The production is top-drawer with two adept British performers bringing superb comic line delivery from previous engagements in the play. They execute a variety of characters in carefully defined and easily identifiable portrayals.

A perfect but extremely functional set helps the experienced actors with the plot revelations as evidence is exposed using clever introductions. The performers use the Herberger’s aisles effectively to bring the piece right into the audience.

The slow first act of the two-hour play is almost entirely set-up for the more fast moving second part where the unusual plot is resolved. Various items are presented that further mystify the actions but each is effectively used by author Susan Hill’s book that was adapted flawlessly by the late playwright Stephen Mallatratt.  To describe more plot details and all the imaginary things that occur would ruin the play’s many turns and twists.

In addition to the set, eerie lighting and defining costuming help aide the performers in bringing the mystery alive.  Best is that the play stimulates the audience’s imagination as the story unfolds.

David Acton plays Arthur Kipps, the central protagonist, with a grand flourish of classy British style. Antony Eden plays The Actor who births the many characters who challenge Kipps as they expand the plot’s machinations.

“The Woman in Black” is a well performed and smartly staged spooky mystery. It continues through February 25.  To order tickets, call the Herberger Theater Center box office at 602-252-8497 or order tickets online at www.HerbergerTheater.org.

Grade: A-

One thing must be mentioned.  The opening of “A Woman in Black” occurred the same evening as some major downtown Phoenix event so street parking was not available and the garage across the street from the Herberger charged a ridiculous $40. No wonder people have escaped the Herberger for venues with nearby free parking.  $40 on top of expensive theater tickets will not encourage attendance.

One Response to ““The Woman in Black” – Herberger Theater Center”

  1. Laurene Austin said:

    Feb 12, 24 at 09:54

    Parking options include purchasing a parking pass from the Herberger Theater’s Box Office or online and park at the Arizona Center Parking Garage for only $6.00! Located at 401 E. Fillmore St.. Valid Monday-Friday from 5pm – 4am and all day on Saturday and Sunday. Guests do not need their parking pass until exiting the garage. Season ticket holders receive complimentary parking.