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RLT’s Halloween Spooktacular, “The Woman in Black,” Gives the Audience Goosebumps

"The Woman in Black's" cast includes Rowell Gormon (left) as Arthur  Kipps and Clint Lienau as The Actor (photo by David Watts)

"The Woman in Black's" cast includes Rowell Gormon (left) as Arthur Kipps and Clint Lienau as The Actor (photo by David Watts)

Raleigh Little Theatre’s Halloween presentation, The Woman in Black, adapted by Stephen Mallatratt from the supernatural thriller by Susan Hill, is a chilling spooktacular that raises goosebumps, with superb acting and nerve-wracking special effects.

The Triangle’s Man of a Thousand Voices, Rowell Gormon, is splendid not only as youthful solicitor Arthur Kipps, summoned to a small English coastal town to settle the estate of a reclusive widow – but also in a variety of other roles. The widow’s house is haunted by a mysterious Woman in Black (played to mute perfection by Amy Flynn) with a wasted face who is mourning the death of her only son in an accident, which she witnessed from afar.

Gormon’s co-star Clint Lienau is likewise excellent as a young Actor whom Kipps engages to tell the story of his haunting by the increasingly menacing Woman in Black. Under the sure-handed direction of RLT artistic director Haskell Fitz-Simons, Lienau and Gormon smoothly segue from role to role as fog, creaking floors, slamming doors, a locked room whose door opens unexpectedly, and the appearances the Woman in Black — who materializes out of the mist — move the RLT audience to the edge of their seats and keep them there.

Technical director Jim Zervas, scenic and lighting designer Thomas Mauney, costume designer Vicki Olson, sound designer Rick LaBach, and sound engineer Thomas Houseknecht also deserve a special round of applause for creating the ominous atmosphere that transforms the stage and seats of the Cantey V. Sutton Main Stage Theatre into a haunted house, with the Woman in Black gliding up and down the aisles — on her way to torment the characters whom Rowell Gormon and Clint Lienau so vividly portray.

There are various and sundry reasons that The Woman in Black has played for 23 years in London’s West End, and all of them are in evidence in the current Raleigh Little Theatre community-theater production. Don’t miss it!

SECOND OPINION: Oct. 11th Raleigh, NC News & Observer review by Roy C. Dicks: and Oct. 10th Raleigh, NC CVNC (Classical Voice of North Carolina) review by Alan R. Hall: (Note: To read Triangle Arts & Entertainment’s online version of the Oct. 7th +6 preview  by Robert W. McDowell, click

Raleigh Little Theatre presents THE WOMAN IN BLACK at 8 p.m. Oct. 13-15, 3 p.m. Oct. 16, 8 p.m. Oct. 20-22, and 3 p.m. Oct. 23 in the Cantey V. Sutton Main Stage Theatre, 301 Pogue St., Raleigh, North Carolina 27607.

TICKETS: $20 ($16 students and seniors 62+).

BOX OFFICE: 919/821-3111 or






NOTE: All shows are wheelchair accessible, and assistive listening devices are available for all shows.


The Play: (official website) and (Wikipedia).

The Playwright: (Wikipedia).

The Novel: (official web page) and (Wikipedia).

The Novelist: (official website) and (Wikipedia).

The Film (scheduled for release in February 2012): (official website), (Wikipedia), and (Internet Movie Database).


Robert W. McDowell is editor and publisher of Triangle Theater Review, a FREE weekly e-mail theatrical newsletter that provides more comprehensive, in-depth coverage of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill theater than all of the other news media combined. This review is reprinted with permission from Triangle Theater Review.

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