Woman in Black, The

The Woman in Black

Theatre Royal, Glasgow, Mon 12-Sat 17 Feb


These days, the reckoning of the commercial sector in the theatre runs that if it isn’t a musical, it won’t play. Yet, the living, breathing, if at the same time undead contradiction to this truism still seems to have ghostly legs, wherever it goes.

Stephen Mallatratt’s version of Susan Hill’s novel is now in its 18th year of touring, and has never (at least on the occasions this reviewer has seen it) failed to fill a house. Perhaps the appeal of this tale of a man haunted by the ghostly presence of a much-victimised Victorian single mother lies in the traditional interpretation of horror - in witnessing the dead living, we defeat death ourselves. Whatever the appeal of this eerie banker, it does seem to locate, within its frights, a certain level of awareness that our society isn’t entirely fair to its victims of circumstance, past and present. This is a ghost with a conscience.

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