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The Woman in Black, Shakespeare Theatre

It's been said that Hamlet is really a ghost story (either that or the world's longest knock-knock joke, as it begins with a shout of "Who's there?" in the night). A sad tale may be best for winter, but Mamilius' story in The Winter's Tale is also one of churchyards, sprites, and goblins. And with the numerous ghosts that populate Richard III and Glendower's claims of communing with spirits in 1 Henry IV, Stephen Mallatratt's adaptation of Susan Hill's The Woman in Black, directed by Robin Herford, is a surprisingly good fit for the Shakespeare Theatre Company.

Herford's production has been running in the West End for 30 years, and judging by the response of the audience at the Lansburgh Theatre, probably still scaring the pants of plenty of folks. Hill's novel of vengeful ghosts and the marshy manors they haunt is given a wonderfully insightful and theatrical adaptation by Mallatratt, one that revels in the nature of what a theatrical…

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