Jenny Anderson

The Woman In Black

Reviewer's Rating

The McKittrick Hotel is the perfect NYC spot for Halloween. From their signature immersive Sleep No More experience to their Hitchcock/Macbeth-themed cocktails at the rooftop bar, everything has a touch of the macabre for spook-lovers year-round. But this spooky season, a new run of an old favorite has picked up where it left off after being cut short by COVID – The Woman in Black, a “ghost story in a pub” is perfect for getting in the spirit of the season.

Gothic thrills abound The Woman in Black. An ominous funeral, a mysterious spectre, and a creepy estate with a treacherous twist Stephen Mallatratt’s adaptation of the novel by Susan Hill sets up the main plot as a play within a play, creating a very Shakespearean brand of humor while also making way for a fantastically thrilling plot twist. Of course, such a undertaking requires actors with the range to pull off both the comedic highs and the blood-curling chills, and none could be better for this production than David Acton as Arthur Kipps and Ben Porter as The Actor. Both Woman in Black West End veterans, they were also the original cast of this run at the McKittrick, now returning after a long forced break. Their chemistry and comedic timing certainly have not suffered in the months since the production shut down. Both actors deliver an intimate, dynamic, and harrowing performance, magnified by the intimate venue which practically pulls audiences into the action.

The Woman in Black has been a West End staple for decades after a humble beginning as a Christmas play in a pub in Scarborough. In the McKittrick’s Club Car, The Woman in Black returns to that humble beginning and becomes, once again, a ghost story in a pub. In the hands of director Robin Herford, who directed the original and has personally directed every revival since, the play thrives in a space like the Club Car. Everything is palpable – the shudders of fear, the scoffs of indignation, even the joy of a man discovering a passion for acting (something so beautiful to watch for any theater-lover, and played so well by the extraordinarily capable David Acton). And of course, there’s no perk quite like the promise of a drink at intermission. But you might want to take care to finish before the show starts again, because the real-life, in-your-face spooks just might have you literally jumping in your seat.

With this site-specific production of The Woman in Black, the McKittrick Hotel and all involved have created a truly delectable experience. Not for the faint of heart, The Woman in Black invites you to indulge in some good old-fashioned spine-tingling thrills in this fresh run of a well-loved classic, which may as well have been made for the McKittrick.