The Woman In Black

The Woman In Black

Written by Susan Hill
Adapted by Stephen Mallatratt
Directed by Robin Herford
Liverpool Playhouse
7th – 12th November 2016

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

This is a hackneyed adaptation of a horror story written by Susan Hill. It has been touring for over 25 years and it shows! Gothic it was not.

Like the use of the sound of horse-drawn carriages it was often plodding, made even more so by two actors lacking charisma, namely Matthew Spencer, The Actor, and David Acton, Arthur Kipps.

One example of the triteness was the evocation of a warm and cosy Christmas Eve night. This has been depicted so so many times, ad nauseum, in many other tales.

There was little tension in the story that it verged on tedium.

In brief it centred on Arthur Kipps, the writer of a story he is determined to tell, with an actor, The Actor, assisting him narrate it as they rehearse in a deserted theatre.

Loud bangs and explosions occasionally punctuated the production, amid nondescript stage scenery.

The appearance at times of a ghost-like woman shrouded in black added snippets of other-worldly elements to the play but there was little else to scare the living daylights out of you!

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