Eerie Brilliance at Liverpool Playhouse: ‘The Woman in Black’ Mesmerises with Stellar Performances and Imaginative Direction


Rating: *****

Spine-tingling. Atmospheric. Gripping.

An authentic and highly engaging performance was delivered by the two incredible talents of Malcolm James (Arthur Kipps) and Mark Hawkins (The Actor). Initially, I had reservations as to how a small cast of two actors could captivate the iconic ghost story and hold the audience’s attention. However, my fears were allayed within the first five minutes of James’ monologue as I was completely hooked.

Director Robin Hereford, alongside Stephen Mallatratt, executed an exceptionally clever adaptation of Susan Hill’s best-selling novel, which had the audience transfixed. This was a masterpiece in imagination as it told the tale of a lawyer obsessed with a curse that he believes has been cast over his family by the spectre of a ‘Woman in Black’. Hereford and Mallatratt adapted and developed a stage play that engages a young actor to help him tell his story and exorcise the fear that grips his soul.

As the grisly ghost story progresses and memories are delved into further, the eeriness of the set design (Michael Holt and Kevin Sleep) with its smoke and dry ice served to heighten the nerve-shredding believability of the performance. I am not too sure if The Playhouse chose to make the auditorium icy cold deliberately; however, this definitely enhanced the climactic atmosphere.

This performance was well worthy of its two standing ovations as it is simply theatre at its best!

I implore you to book tickets for this wonderful show at the Iconic Liverpool Playhouse. Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black will have a ghostly festive residency in Liverpool as part of a UK tour until Sat, 30th Dec 2023. Tickets: £11 – £41 can be booked directly from the box office.

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