One of London’s longest-running stage plays, The Woman in Black, is set to end after 33 years. The terrifying two-man drama, which was adapted by Stephen Mallatratt from Susan Hill’s novel of the same name, has amassed an incredible 13,000 performances since its opening at Hammersmith’s Lyric Theatre in 1989.
The Woman in Black’s West End run began shortly after at the Strand, now called the Novello, before moving to the Playhouse and finally reaching the Fortune Theatre in June of the same year. The show has been particularly popular with younger viewers arriving in London for school trips.
The plot follows a lawyer obsessed with a curse that he believes has been cast over him and his family by the spectre of a Woman in Black. He engages a sceptical young actor to help him tell his terrifying story and exorcise the fear that grips his soul.
The novel and subsequent stage adaptation went on to inspire a 2012 horror blockbuster starring Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe. Susan Hill said she was “extremely sad” the final curtain was drawing near for the stage show, adding: “[The Fortune Theatre] has been the perfect home for us for over 33 years.
“I am especially proud that Stephen Mallatratt’s wonderful stage adaptation of my ghost story has given generations of young people the opportunity to experience the enjoyment and the life-changing impact of theatre.”
The show’s producer, Peter Wilson, said: “The Woman In Black’s miraculous theatricality has never faltered. Out of a gauze, a wicker skip and a door, Stephen Mallatratt and Robin Herford conjured a complete world into which generations of young people have entered, surrendering to the ultimate magic of theatre: their own imaginations.”
Mr Wilson added that the “economic reality” of attracting so many young people had “caught up with us in a world of rising prices”. The show currently stars Julian Forsyth as Arthur Kipps and Matthew Spencer as The Actor and celebrated its 30th year in 2019 with a special gala performance.
The show will have its final performance at the Fortune Theatre on March 4 2023. To book tickets, visit the AGT Tickets website.