The Woman In Black, the West End’s longest running supernatural chiller, celebrated 20 years of scaring audiences witless at the weekend with an anniversary performance on 6 June.
The haunting ghost story, performed by just three actors, opened at London’s Fortune theatre in June 1989 and has had over 4 million theatregoers jumping out of their seats ever since.
The stage adaptation of Susan Hill’s 1983 novel, The Woman In Black tells the story of a young solicitor sent to conclude the affairs of the recently deceased Alice Drablow. Left alone in the eerie Eel Marsh House, and unaware of its tragic history, he catches a glimpse of a withered young woman dressed entirely in black. When he tries to discover more, the locals are reluctant to help, leaving him alone amid a terrifying mystery.
At 20 years old, The Woman In Black is the fifth longest running production in the West End, following thriller The Mousetrap and musicals Les Misérables, The Phantom Of The Opera and Blood Brothers. The show actually started life in 1987 at Scarborough’s Theatre-By-The-Sea, where director Robin Herford was Artistic Director, but proved so successful that it transferred to London.
The success of the long-runner, which currently stars Andrew Jarvis and Timothy Watson, has not just been limited to the West End. Productions have also been presented in the US, South America and Japan.