London theatre’s favourite ghost story, The Woman In Black centres on a keen young solicitor who is sent to wind up the affairs of a recently deceased woman, Mrs Alice Drablow.
Alone in the eerie, isolated Eel Marsh House, young Arthur Kipps is unaware of the tragedy lurking in the house’s dark corners – he only feels an unnerving sense of unease. When he catches a glimpse of a wasted young woman dressed completely in black, Kipps tries to discover more about her, but the locals turn silent and he must unearth her secret on his own.
Years later, he recounts his experiences in a theatre, desperate to exorcise the ghosts of the past. Susan Hill’s acclaimed ghost story comes dramatically alive in Stephen Mallatratt’s ingenious stage adaptation.
An eerie thriller, The Woman In Black is based on Hill’s 1983 novel, adapted by Stephen Mallatratt but using much of Hill’s own description and dialogue. It features just two main cast members and minimal props to conjure its sense of rising fear and impending doom.
Richard Hope and Mark Hawkins are the two current stars in question; Hope (Queen Anne, The History Boys) plays Kipps, while Hawkins (The Railway Children, Muted) portrays The Actor.
The stage adaptation of The Woman In Black was first presented at Scarborough’s Theatre-By-The-Sea in 1987, and proved such a success that it transferred to London two years later. It has been playing at the same venue ever since, The Fortune Theatre, making it one of London’s longest running plays.
In a case of life imitating art, The Woman In Black and the Fortune Theatre are said to have their very own ghost. Following a break-in at the theatre, a grey lady, thought to be a spirit protecting the venue, was seen in the lower boxes. Try and spot her if you can!
Now celebrating 3 terrifying decades in the West End, Robin Herford’s gripping production is a brilliantly successful study in atmosphere, illusion and controlled horror.
Don’t miss it – if you dare!
And if you’re a teacher/careers advisor, Education Packs for this show (and more) are available in our Schools Resources area.
Dramas have a rich history in the West End; find out more about plays in London.