BWW Interview: Stuart Fox Talks THE WOMAN IN BLACK at Fortune Theatre
Susan Hill's The Woman in Black is currently celebrating its 30th anniversary in the West End.
As part of the celebrations, Stuart Fox has returned to the cast to reprise his role as Mr Kipps for a third time after playing him in the West End production at the Fortune Theatre and other UK venues on tour. He spoke to BroadwayWorld about returning to the show.
Who was your biggest inspiration growing up?
Peter Sellers, I think. Everything he did was a "character" role and, for the most part, extremely funny. I love becoming someone very different from myself. Making people laugh has to be one of the best things you can do.
What made you want to become a performer?
To be honest, I didn't know what I should do with myself. My dad made people laugh as an amateur performer, and I didn't want his day job as a farmer.
My sister said she was going to be a dress designer; so, not to be outdone, I decided to try my hand at acting. I always thought an idea for a proper job would come along, and I'm still waiting.
How did you become involved in The Woman in Black?
I unsuccessfully auditioned for it about eight years ago. Later on, I was doing a play with an actor called Antony Eden, who had done the younger man's role a couple of times, and he recommended me to the director, Robin Herford.
How do you keep your performance fresh when revisiting your character for the UK tour and West End productions?
This was of concern to me the second time I did it, but I was playing opposite someone completely new to me. His performance was so different that I had to rejig my performance to match his. The same has happened this time with Matthew [Spencer], who again brings freshness to the play.
What's your favourite thing about playing Arthur Kipps?
Repeatedly changing characters. It is great fun doing that.
How does it feel to be part of the 30th anniversary cast?
It feels a bit special. I was in the show for its 25th anniversary, and that was special too. It's quite something for this very intimate tale to still be holding its own in the West End.
Why do you think The Woman in Black has stood the test of time in the West End?
The show has relatively small overheads - a tiny cast, one set, and a small crew.
But it's the show itself that plays into the universal fear of the dark and hence the unknown. The great thing is that the audience fills in most of the atmosphere with their fear as to what might be about to happen.
What are you most afraid of?
Along with everyone else, those things that we don't understand and that act to rules we have no understanding of.
Why should people come to The Woman in Black for the first or 30th time?
It's great theatre. It's an eloquent piece from an eloquent book. I'd say to someone who's never seen live theatre, it's an outstanding example of what you can achieve in a room with a few lights (or not), some sound and an active imagination.
The Woman in Black currently booking at the Fortune Theatre until 28 March, 2020