Creating genuine terror in the theater is a tough proposition. Unlike their cinematic counterparts, stage directors can't rely on editing tricks and special effects to get our hearts racing. But if you have the right actors, the right story and the right setting, it can be done, as Alison C. Vesely's staging of The Woman in Black for First Folio ultimately demonstrates. Stephen Mallatratt's play, adapted from the novel by Susan Hill, has become a go-to thriller for many companies, and it's not hard to see why. Essentially a play-within-a-play, The Woman in Black allows two talented actors to take on a gallery of juicy roles, particularly Kipps, the anguished solicitor who hopes to exorcise a nightmare from his past by having the story brought to life in the theater.
- KERRY REID
Through May 1 by First Folio Theatre at Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st Street and Illinois Highway 83, Oak Brook; $29-$35 at 630-986-8067 or firstfolio.org