AFTER 547 days, the Grand Opera House, York, will step out of the darkness and into The Woman In Black from September 13.
Robert Goodale will star as lawyer Arthur Kipps and Antony Eden as The Actor in PW Productions’ tour of Stephen Mallatratt’s 1987 adaptation of Susan Hill’s ghost story.
The Woman In Black tells the tale of an elderly lawyer obsessed with a curse that he believes has been cast over his family by the spectre of a “Woman in Black” for 50 years now.
“For my health, my reason,” he says, “The story must be told. I cannot bear the burden any longer.”
He duly engages a young actor to help him tell that story and exorcise the fear that grips his soul, but although it begins innocently enough, the deeper they delve into his darkest memories, the more the borders between make-believe and reality begin to blur and the flesh starts to creep.
The Woman In Black last spooked York audiences at the Theatre Royal in November 2019, after earlier runs there in February 2013 and November 2014. Hill’s ghost is no stranger to the Grand Opera House’s boards either.
Mallatratt’s splendidly theatrical stage adaptation had begun life as a bonus Christmas show at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in 1987 in novelist Susan Hill’s hometown of Scarborough, and this latest touring production still retains its original director and designer, Robin Herford and Michael Holt. Well, if it ain’t broke, etc etc.
Likewise, Goodale is returning to the role he played at the Theatre Royal in 2019 for a tour that takes in Bath, Guilford, Oxford, Malvern, Shrewsbury, Manchester, Brighton, Glasgow, York, Blackpool, Stoke and Edinburgh.
Tickets for the Grand Opera House’s September 13 to 18 run are on sale at atgtickets.com/venues/grand-opera-house-york.
One final thought: as much as The Woman In Black is a ghost story first and foremost, in Mallatratt’s hands, it is also a celebration of the craft of acting, the power of storytelling and the role of the imagination. All the more reason to welcome the reopening of the Grand Opera House, a theatre with a ghost of its own.
Did you know?
THE show that ran the week before darkness descended on the Grand Opera House under the Covid cloud was…Ghost Stories, Andy Nyman and Jeremy Dyson’s “supernatural sensation”, from March 10 to 14 2020.