Dark Road

Dark Road

By Ian Rankin & Mark Thomson
Directed by Mark Thomson
A co-production with Wales Millennium Centre

Alfred Chalmers is a serial killer who has spent 25 years behind bars for the horrific and gruesome murders of four young girls in Edinburgh. Isobel McArthur, Scotland’s first Chief Superintendent and one of the team responsible for putting him away. But Chalmers' conviction has always haunted her. 

Approaching retirement, and hungry for answers, Isobel decides to revisit the case - a decision which drags her, her fellow officers and even her own daughter back down into the maelstrom of fear, horror and uncertainty which threatened to engulf them a quarter of a century before. 

This is top Scots crime writer Ian Rankin’s debut stage play, co-written and directed by the Lyceum’s Artistic Director, Mark Thomson. Tense, tough and gritty it brings the brilliance of Rankin’s story telling sharply into focus as a gripping psychological battle of wit and will is played out between Chalmers and McArthur.

Book seats for Dark Road and Crime and Punishment at the same time and save £10.00! It’s a killer of a deal!

Glenfiddich®, the world’s most awarded single malt Scotch whisky, is proud to support Dark Road  the first ever stage play written by three times winner of a Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland Award, Ian Rankin.
Family-owned for over 125 years, Glenfiddich is committed to creating exceptional whiskies, crafted with skill and care.  Explore Glenfiddich's history and range of single malts at www.glenfiddich.com

*Applies to full price tickets only in Standard Seats in Stalls and Grand Circle and Upper Circle.

Cast and Credits

The cast of Dark Road

ISOBEL: Maureen Beattie
ALEXANDRA: Sara Vickers
FRANK: Robert Gwilym
CHALMERS: Phil Whitchurch
BLACK FERGUS: Ron Donachie

The creative team of Dark Road

Director: Mark Thomson
Designer: Francis O'Connor
LX Designer: Malcolm Rippeth
Composer/Sound: Philip Pinsky
Assistant Director: Jo Rush


Dark Road Trailer

Dates, Times & Prices

Dates and times

This production has now ended.

Running Time: To be confirmed (there will be a 20 minute interval)

Wednesday 25 September, 7.45pm (Preview)
Thursday 26 September, 7.45pm (Preview)
Friday 27 September, 7.45pm (Preview)

Tuesday 1 October, 7.45pm 
Wednesday 2 October, 2.30pm
Wednesday 2 October, 7.45pm
Thursday 3 October, 7.45pm
Friday 4 October, 7.45pm
Saturday 5 October, 2.30pm 
Saturday 5 October, 7.45pm

Tuesday 8 October, 7.45pm
Wednesday 9 October, 2.30pm
Wednesday 9 October, 7.45pm 
Thursday 10 October, 7.45pm (Touch Tour, 6.30pm and Audio-described Performance)
Friday 11 October, 7.45pm
Saturday 12 October, 2.30pm (Touch Tour, 1.15pm and Audio-described Performance)
Saturday 12 October, 7.45pm

Tuesday 15 October, 7.45pm
Wednesday 16 October, 2.30pm
Wednesday 16 October, 7.45pm (BSL Interpreted Performance)
Thursday 17 October, 7.45pm
Friday 18 October, 7.45pm
Saturday 19 October, 2.30pm (Captioned Performance)
Saturday 19 October, 7.45pm



  • Grand Circle & Stalls PREMIUM SEATS: £30
  • Grand Circle & Stalls STANDARD SEATS: £27.50
  • Upper Circle STANDARD SEATS: £18
  • Restricted View Seats: £14


  • Grand Circle & Stalls PREMIUM SEATS: £24
  • Grand Circle & Stalls STANDARD SEATS: £22
  • Upper Circle STANDARD SEATS: £16
  • Restricted View Seats: £12

Preview performances

All seats £10, unreserved seating (no concessions)
A £1 transaction fee applies to all bookings


Appropriate ID will be required to verify age or status

Seniors and Arts Workers

  • £3 off full price tickets

Students, people with disabilities and under 18s 

  • All seats £10 
  • Student standby tickets £7.50 (Available on the day of the performance)
  • Wheelchair spaces available in Stalls Boxes
  • Assistants accompanying people with disabilities go free

Registered unemployed

  • All seats £10
  • Tuesday - Thursday: £5 Stalls tickets on the day (excluding Premium Seats, max 20 per show)

School discounts

  • Tuesday - Saturday: £8.50 (Stalls & Grand Circle), £7.50 (Upper Circle)
  • One teacher free with every ten pupils
  • Call our Groups and Schools booking line - 0131 248 4949
  • Discount not available on Premium Seats

Group discounts for 8 or more people

  • £5 off full price tickets (Stalls and Grand Circle) plus one free ticket for every 20 paid for
  • £3 off full price tickets (Upper Circle) plus one free ticket for every 20 paid for
  • Call our Groups and Schools booking line - 0131 248 4949
  • Discount not available on Premium Seats

Transaction Fee

  • A £1 transaction fee applies to all bookings (excluding free events) to cover the service costs required to process a transaction
  • If you buy multiple tickets at the same time the fee will remain £1
  • Applies to all booking methods and forms of payment


Accessible performances for this production

Touch Tours for the visually impaired

  • Thursday 10 October, 6.30pm
  • Saturday 12 October, 1.15pm

Audio-described Performances

  • Thursday 10 October, 7.45pm
  • Saturday 12 October, 2.30pm

BSL Interpreted Performance

  • Wednesday 16 October, 7.45pm

Captioned Performance

  • Saturday 19 October, 2.30pm

Full information on accessible performances and facilities at the Lyceum


Access facilities at the Lyceum


  • Blue badge parking spaces directly opposite the theatre
  • Street level access to the Lyceum foyer

Front of House

  • Lifts to all levels
  • Front of House wheelchair available for audience use
  • Induction loop at Box Office
  • Accessible toilet in foyer


  • Infra red and radio headsets for hearing enhancement and audio-described performances
  • Assistance dogs welcome in auditorium or can be left with Front of House staff
  • Raised Stalls Boxes offers space for up to 27 people in wheelchairs/companions
  • Underlit row letters, tactile row markers and embroidered seats numbers
  • Booster cushions and footstools available
  • Induction loop permanently on

Full information on accessible performances and facilities at the Lyceum

Take Part

Creative Learning events for this production

Curtain Raiser with Ian Rankin

Ian will be joined by journalist, Jackie McGlone to discuss his play Dark Road.

This event is part of Luminate. For more information please visit: www.luminatescotland.org

• Wednesday 2 October, 6-7pm
• £10 (£8 conc.) per ticket

Come and hear Ian Rankin talk about his play Dark Road and then stay and see the performance for a special joint ticket price of £30* (£35 if bought individually). Just ask Box Office when you book your tickets quoting 'Ian Rankin Curtain Raiser Ticket Offer'. Box Office: 0131 248 4848. 

*tickets must be purchased at the same time.

Focus on: Dark Road

Spend a relaxed but informative morning with local historian and theatre expert Owen Dudley Edwards as he discusses Dark Road

• Wednesday 2 October, 10.30am
• £6 per class
• Book all 7 for £39
• Includes coffee/tea

Post-show Discussion

• Tuesday 8 October, after evening performance
• FREE, unticketed

Theatre Discussion Group

Join facilitator Rod McAra for a friendly discussion.

• Wednesday 16 October, after matinee performance
• FREE, but ticketed

To book for ticketed events, please call 0131 248 4848 or book online.

(£1 transaction fee applies per booking)

Audience Feedback

Audience feedback for this production

This page is for  feedback from audience members, including comments from social media such as Twitter and Facebook, and also audience reviews.

If you would like to submit your own review of this production, please use the form on this page.

"Go and see this show before it's last performance"
Audience review by Chris

"loved it. My advice is to buy a ticket if there are any left!"
Audience review by Elke

"Beautifully written, full of suspense."
Audience review by Russell Cowe

"well done Lyceum once again on a superb production."
Audience review by Josie

"a really good play performed by an excellent cast."
Audience review by Simon Shearer

"I was entertained and intrigued...worth seeing!"
Audience review by Adair Broughton

"Great play, excellent set and what a gripping end."
Audience review by Lena Russell

"Actors were excellent especially Maureen Beattie."
Audience review by Linda Gibson

Press Coverage


“Beattie is in explosive form.”
The Stage

“Dark Road establishes Rankin as the fresh new voice of Scottish theatre. With Thomson, he has produced an unpretentious, honest evening’s entertainment [...].”
The Evening News ★★★★★★

“[...] excellent entertainment indeed.”
The Financial Times★★★★

“Dark Road is a gripping and chilling piece of psychological drama, paced expertly by its creators and brought to life both by an accomplished cast and striking design.”
Edinburgh Spotlight  ★★★★

“Utterly gripping, gritty and great entertainment, this is a welcome and long overdue addition to the theatrical thriller genre.”
The Public Reviews ★★★★

“Alfred Chalmers, played by Philip Whitchurch with a creepily believable mixture of anger and geniality [...]”
The Guardian ★★★

“[...] a great cast, a stunningly ambitious rotating pedestal of sets designed by Francis O’Connor and a whodunit reveal which is typically Rankin [...].”
The Independent ★★★

“The psychological cat and mouse game [...] is top-notch prime time stuff [...].
The Herald ★★★

“Beattie’s central performance is complex and subtle while Whitchurch is compelling as the convicted killer who may or may not be innocent. Robert Gwilym is excellent as Isobel’s long-term colleague Frank Bowman [...].”
All Edinburgh Theatre ★★★

“Dark Road teeters at that crossroads of modern era and golden age, warning us that for all the material world changes, human nature remains the same.”
TV Bomb ★★★


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