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  • David Robinson

The Woman In Black


The Alexandra Theatre Birmingham on until Saturday 10th February

Four Stars ****


The Woman in Black has been chilling and thrilling audiences for over 30 years. Based on Susan Hill’s classic ghost story, Stephen Mallatratt’s stage adaptation relies on all the power of pure theatre to weave its spell. The two main characters have the audience hanging on to their seats and the lighting and sound together with the incredible smoke machines which create the marshlands lends itself to an incredible atmosphere. 

Mark Hawkins plays the character known simply as the actor and is joined by Malcolm James who returns to the Woman in Black as Arthur Kipps which he played at The Fortune Theatre in London.

It starts as a play within a play, revealing the plight of a man who believes he has been cursed by the ‘woman in black’…

A young solicitor sent to settle the estate of the late Mrs Drablow. We move between graveyards, an isolated house and foggy marshland. Rather than any dramatic change in set, it is down to the actors, sound, and light to take us on the journey, and they certainly do that with significant effect.

There is also some humour, too, which makes the darker moments even more terrifying and at times the audience scream out in fright.  Mark Hawkins and Malcolm James are excellent to watch in their roles and keep the audience on the edge of their seats throughout. 

A thrilling play well performed by both actors with a wonderful and suitable set.

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