Friday, February 27, 2009

The Woman in Black review - London's Fortune Theatre

We were brought up terrified of headless ghouls with gaping wounds and bloodthirsty souls feasting on hearts still pumping. But whoever tells you that a horror story is full with blood and gore has clearly never heard a good one before.


A good horror story is one that is bloodless, sends chills down your spine, and carries on to haunt you way after you first heard it. The story behind The Woman in Black is one such tale.

The story goes that a young solicitor having tasked to tidy up the estate of woman recently deceased encountered a chain of incidents that haunted him for the rest of his life. Decades later, as an old man, he enlisted the help of a budding director to help him recount what actually happened that few days spent in the deceased woman's manor.
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In order to help him piece his memories together, the young director volunteered to take on the role of solicitor in his younger days and have the former solicitor himself narrating the story. As the story unfolds the audience is slowly led to uncover the abyss that the two characters had stepped into, and ultimately a tragic ending.

The Woman in Black, based on a thriller written by Susan Hill, was originally meant to plug a three month gap between big ticket productions at Fortune Theatre (Russell St, London, WC2), just off Covent Garden Market and a five minute walk from Covent Garden Tube station. The play was so well received when it first started in 1989 that it carried on playing till today.

More than two decades later, The Woman in Black continues to thrill its audience with a gripping storyline well played out in a cosy theatre with minimal props and a masterful use of sound and light.

Incidentally, after finishing the book, Susan Hill was so spooked by the character she had created that she never wrote another story again.

You can get its tickets from the many ticket booths found around Covent Garden Market. Alternatively, you could book your tickets here. If you would like to relive the horror of Woman in Black, check out the original classic.

If you enjoy this post, consider Stumbling it or Mixx it. Cheers!

Author's correction: Susan Hill did carry on to write more stories, which include a strand of detective novels and another ghost story A Mist in the Mirror, after The Woman in Black. Thanks for Feanor for the alert in the comments section in this post.

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EastCoastLife said...

There's a book? I'll try to read this story. I'm sure this will be an interesting play. Hope I can find it on Youtube.

Dutchie said...

I do love a hair-rising story. Pity this play is out of my reach but will check n see if our local bookstores carry the book. Thanks for the tip !

Btw, after 2-3 days of blanks in ur blog, it's up n running again - hip, hip horay ... kachang puteh - hehe.

C K said...

I've not seen the book sold anyway though. Well, I didn't actually go look for it.

I don't think the play is on YouTube. They have quite stringent measures for unauthorised filming. Then again, if someone is desperate enough, I wouldn't be surprised.

Glad to hear that the site looks alright again. I have removed Nuffnang from the top portion of the blog. Will appreciate if you could drop me a comment if you notice some display errors on the site in the future. :)

I'm not sure whether the book will be as good as the play though. Hmm, I just can't stop thinking of the rocking "rocking chair" in the middle of an empty room...

EastCoastLife said...

yay, can't find it on YouTube.

I want to find out about the pillow fight. Hope you are covering it. hehe....

C K said...

You bet I will. Was there the whole time and will be giving a blow by blow account in the next post. :)

FĂ«anor said...

CK: That is a superb play, isn't it? I was spooked for days after, heh. But Susan Hill has continued to write after this: she has a series of detective fiction (e.g. The Various Haunts of Men, and so on) which was pretty good as well.

C K said...

Really? I got that from the advertising at Fortune Theatre. Thanks for the alert.

I've made a note at the end of the post. Cheers!