10 January 2024

The Woman in Black is a stage play dating from 1987. Adapted by Stephen Mallatratt, it’s based on the 1983 book of the same name, by Susan Hill. And, according to my companion at the theatre last night, the play is faithful to the book.

The play is running at the Wyvern theatre from the 9th to the 13th January 2024. Book your tickets here.

The Woman in Black at the Wyvern Theatre
The Woman in Black at the Wyvern Theatre

I do love a bit of drama me – on the stage that is – not in life. I have fond memories of Armchair Theatre on ITV and The Wednesday Play on the BBC eons ago. Thus I’m delighted to report that I got a good drama dose at the Wyvern theatre last night in the form of The Woman in Black.

A bit about the play

From the official website there’s this summation of the plot – and that’s all I’m going to give you. You need to see it to appreciate how this tragic story unfolds.

‘An elderly lawyer is obsessed with a curse. A curse that he believes the eponymous female cast over him and his family many years earlier. He engages a sceptical young actor to help him tell his terrifying story. And, in so doing, exorcise the fear that grips his soul. But, as they reach further into the man’s deepest, darkest memories, they find themselves caught up in a world of eerie marshes and moaning winds.’

The play is a two-hander (aside from the uncredited spectre) and the action takes place in a theatre in the 1950s. I thought the set/staging/adaptation was rather clever – the use of griege sacking type fabric on the front of an extended stage effectively evoked the aforementioned marshes and causeway in the sea that one had to cross to get to the deserted house. Of COURSE there’s a dark, deserted house!

The use of lighting was rather clever too. The younger of the players clicked his fingers and the light changed to signal a shift from the present to the past – and back.

The stage setting of the woman in black at the Wyvern
The stage setting of the play

Root about on the Internet and you’ll see this play described as the most terrifying live theatre experience in the world. I think perhaps that’s rather over-egging the pudding a tad. BUT, that said, there are bumps and jumps in it. And it’s definitely gripping, tense and atmospheric.

So drag yourself away from Netflix and give it a go.

The play is running at the Wyvern theatre from the 9th to the 13th January 2024. Book your tickets here.

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