Susan Hill’s chilling ghost story is brought to life on stage in Stephen Mallatratt’s effectively eerie adaptation.
The Woman in Black is one of the West End’s longest running shows and the second longest running play after The Mousetrap, having played continuously at the Fortune Theatre since 1989.
Testament to the power of a good ghost story, the terrifying show famously employs just two actors to create the haunting atmosphere. Taking the form of a play within a play, an old man employs an initially skeptical young actor to help him tell a story that "must be told." The two men set about rehearsing the story of The Woman in Black with the younger actor playing Arthur Kipps and the older actor playing all the other characters. Instantly the audience are transported into this gripping story.
Young lawyer, Arthur, is sent to the small town of Crythin Gifford to put the affairs of a recently deceased client Alice Drablow in order. It is at her funeral that he first notices the appearance of a strange woman who appears to suffer from some sort of wasting disease dressed all in black. Arthur is unnerved to find that none of the villagers will speak of her. His work leads him to the home of Alice Drablow, the ghostly Eel Marsh House, which is reached only by a causeway and cut off from the mainland when the tide is high. When sorting through her numerous papers he begins to unravel the mystery of the "woman in black" that will lead him to a terrible conclusion.
Making a stage play scary is a notoriously hard task but Robin Hereford’s production masterfully manages it. The horror found in the play is more down to the art of suggestion and takes place within the imagination of the audience. Ingenious staging also ensures there is more than one shock in store...
In 2012 the story was made into a Hollywood film starring Daniel Radcliffe which attracted a whole new audiences to the London’s spookiest show.
If you love a good ghost story then this is the play for you. If you haven’t seen this play before you’ll be amazed by the atmosphere that can be created by just two actors.