Fortune Theatre Archive

Current Show: The stage adaptation of Susan Hill's thriller The Woman in Black.

Transferring to the Fortune Theatre in January 1988 was Roger Smith's production of N J Crisp's thriller Dangerous Obsession starring Dinsdale Landen, Jeremy Bulloch and Carol Drinkwater. Set in the home counties were a stranger turns up at a couple's house, the thriller, which transferred here following an eleven week run at the Apollo Theatre, enjoyed a further seven month run before closing in August 1988. The following month Maureen Lipman opened in Re: Joyce, a one woman show about Joyce Grenfell. Devised by Maureen Lipman and James Roose-Evans from the works by Joyce Grenfell, it played to sell-out audiences during an acclaimed five month run which lead to the production returning to London's West End twice in the following years.

Having original opened in New York in 1982, Gerald Alessandrini's satirical musical revue Forbidden Broadway made its West End premiere here in March 1989, running for two-and-a-months. This was then followed by Stephen Mallatratt's stage adaptation of Susan Hill's thriller The Woman in Black which became the longest running production here at the Fortune Theatre on Monday 28 September 1992 when it played its 1,374th performance. It continues to play here today, over twenty three years and 10,000 performances later! The play has proved to be particularly popular in Japan and, as part of 'Japanese Week', the thriller was presented here in Japanese for just five performances in September 2008 starring Takaya Kamikawa and Haruhiko Saito. The director Robin Herford explained: "As the original director of this play in the UK, where it has been running continuously for nearly twenty years, I have been extremely fortunate to have been travelling to Tokyo to direct it in Japanese since 1992. The idea to create an exchange of productions between Tokyo and London grew out of a casual conversation in 1999, and I am delighted it has come to fruition. I have learned so much from directing in a foreign language, not only about directing but also about the play. It was as if I was granted the chance to view the piece through a different cultural prism. The Japanese actors have brought to the play their own theatrical traditions and experience, which are quite distinct from those of an English company. To give an example: the play is a ghost story, a play about believing in the unbelievable, but whereas in the West, the idea of a spirit world is often greeted with light-hearted scepticism, in Japan, it is met with far more serious consideration. Thus to present the Japanese version of the play in London gives English audiences a unique opportunity to see a familiar text in a foreign language. As a firm believer in the power of cultural links to bring a world community closer together, I am proud to have been involved with bringing it to London."