The Woman in Black
"A brilliantly effective spine chiller" The Guardian
A lawyer is obsessed with the belief that he and his family have been cursed by the Woman in Black. In an attempt to exorcise the evil, he engages a sceptical young actor to help him tell his terrifying story. It all begins innocently enough, but then, as the story begins to unfold, the borders between memory and reality begin to blur and the flesh begins to creep...
The expression on her face...
"Imaginative and hideously real" The Times
"One of the most exciting, gripping and successful theatre events ever staged, The Woman In Black, is now in its fifteenth year in the West End. Unanimously acclaimed by the critics, Stephen Mallatratt's adaptation of Susan Hill's best selling novel combines the power and intensity of live theatre with a cinematic quality inspired by the world of film noir.
"A truly nerve-shredding experience" The Daily Mail
"Ever since The Woman in Black opened more than 20 years ago, it has produced sounds - gasps, squeals, shudders, muffled screams - that are rarely heard in the stalls... The theatre - most fleshy of art forms - is remarkably effective at conveying the spectral. Watching this, with the deliciousness of shared fear, it seems amazing that so few attempts are made to scare audiences. The genius of Stephen Mallatratt's adaptation of Susan Hill's 1983 novel is that it dares you not to believe in it. It doesn't try to mimic reality; it is diametrically opposed to the special effect... It magnifies fear by showing the terror on an actor's face: fright is contagious. It gives fear another dimension, for like all really good ghost stories The Woman in Black is grounded not in horror but in human pain and loss. The whole world, as contained in an auditorium, becomes threatening." The Observer 2012
The Woman in Black was originally commissioned by the play's director Robin Hereford in 1987: "In late summer of 1987, I was Artistic Director of the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough, home of Alan Ayckbourn and his company. Ayckbourn himself was in London at the National Theatre on a two-year sabbatical, which provided me with the opportunity of running the theatre in his stead. For the final production of the season, I wanted to mount a play to run over Christmas in the theatre's seventy-seater studio auditorium, but I had only a very small amount of money left in my production budget and enough wages to pay for only four actors.
The Woman in Black in London opened at the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre on 17 January 1989, closed 11 February 1989, it then transferred to the Strand Theatre (now Novello Theatre) on 15 February 1989 and then transferred to the Fortune Theatre from 7 June 1989.