Matthew spencer stars as The Actor in Susan Hill’s The Woman In Black at The Fortune Theatre, which last month celebrated 13,000 performances at The Fortune Theatre.
Matthew Spencer returns to The Woman in Black as The Actor, having first played the role both at The Fortune Theatre and on tour.
You’ve returned to the role of The Actor in The Woman in Black, how would you describe this play to anyone who hasn’t seen it?
It’s a ghost story but more than that it’s a play about theatre; it celebrates storytelling and using your imagination. It has laughs and jumps and screams and is a lot of fun. It’s a play that anyone can enjoy.
How would you describe your character in The Woman in Black?
My character is an actor who has been asked by Arthur Kipps to come and help him tell his traumatic story so that he can try to move on. So, like most actors, he’s enthusiastic and positive and really does want to help and has an idea that he can take on the role of a young Arthur Kipps and help him create this story.
You’ve played the role both on the West End and on tour; what is it that you love about the role that keeps you coming back?
It’s a great play and a great part; with only two of us in the show it’s both a challenge and a joy to play each night. We get to use all the skills and tricks that you are taught at drama school, which you don’t necessarily get to put into practice in other shows. Also, the original director Robin Herford works with every new cast, allowing them to create their own versions of the characters. This is a very fun process as an actor and also means that the show feels different with every cast change.
It’s such a popular show – why do you think audiences love it so much?
I think everyone loves a good scare and it definitely has those. People love to scream and really get involved in the story; it’s a lot of fun.
What’s the scariest moment (that isn’t in the script) that you’ve had on stage?
I’ve had a few moments in the wings that have given me goosebumps. The moments I know are coming aren’t scary, it’s the ones where you don’t know something’s going to happen that are and I’ve definitely had a few moments when I’ve felt I wasn’t alone in an empty wing…..
What would you say to encourage anyone thinking of booking to see The Woman in Black?
Definitely come and see the show; It’s a fantastic piece of theatre! It has laughs, surprisingly, and a lot of jumpy scares too. It’s a play about the theatre, a love letter to it, and celebrates what can happen when you get in the room with two actors armed with a few props and everyone’s imagination.