The Woman in Blackis billed as a spine-chiller that will have you watching through your fingers but if you seek a fright-fest, best to look elsewhere. Mark Kilmurry’s production of the West End favourite – it enjoys second position as London’s longest-running play, bested only by The Mousetrap– is frankly a washout in the terror stakes.

There is, though, something rather good happening on the little Ensemble stage in Kirribilli, even if that little stage isn’t the right place for special effects that might make you leap out of your seat in fear. As well as being a ghost story, The Woman in Blackis a love letter to the theatre and to the acting profession and it’s here that Kilmurry’s production shines.

Garth Holcombe as The Actor in The Woman in Black. Photograph © Daniel Boud

The Woman in Blackstarted life as a gothic horror novel written in 1983 by Susan Hill. In 1987 Stephen Mallatratt, who was an actor as well as a writer, adapted it for performance at Alan Ayckbourn’s theatre in Scarborough in the north of...