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Is it my cup of Tea: The Woman in Black

In 2004, during my initial trip to London, I was fortunate to witness Nathan Lane and Lee Evans' outstanding performance in one of my beloved musicals, The Producers. After enjoying the show at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, I stumbled upon another theatre featuring a production that I had previously heard about in community theatre circles. This play holds a significant spot in my heart as my favorite, serving as the source of my deep appreciation for ghost stories: The Woman in Black.

After an impressive run of 33 years, over 13,000 performances, and countless audience reactions, The Woman in Black, one of London's longest-running plays, came to a close on Saturday, March 4, 2023, at the Fortune Theatre. The decision was influenced by the increasing global cost of living. By its finale, the production had staged 13,232 performances, making it the fourth longest-running show in West End history and the second longest-running play.

In 2006, the show came to Australia starring John Waters and Brett Tucker. Unfortunately, I missed the opportunity to see this performance again due to personal reasons. It almost happened again because of a persistent headache that kept me from attending the show I was supposed to go to. But...thanks to my wife, who managed to secure tickets to an almost sold out season, we were able to finally see my favorite play produced by Woodward Productions and starring Australian talents John Waters and Daniel McPherson.

For those unfamiliar with the show, here's a brief overview: A lawyer enlists an actor to assist him in recounting a disturbing tale of encountering the woman in black at a funeral. This woman haunts the location where her child passed away, and those who lay eyes on her meet a tragic end. The narrative is retold among friends, adding a spine-tingling twist to a Christmas tradition.

Photos taken from program
Photos taken from program

Directed by Robin Herford, the original director of the production in Scarborough and West End, and starring John Water as Arthur Kipps and Daniel McPherson as the actor this show is a must see for anyone looking for rollercoaster ride into the supernatural utilizing the simplicity if theatre techniques and the imagination of you the audience. To say any more would be like spoiling a good movie and I'm not going to do that. All I will say is that the show is touring Australia until August (you can find the locations and details attached to this blog below) and if your a lover of the supernatural and Gothic horror, fantastic storytelling and acting, as well as stage craft you don't want to miss Woodward Productions show!

Under the direction of Robin Herford, the original director from Scarborough and the West End production, John Water takes to the stage again as Arthur Kipps and Daniel McPherson as the actor. This captivating show is a must-see for those seeking a thrilling journey into the supernatural, using simple yet effective theatre techniques and engaging the audience's imagination. Revealing more would spoil the experience, but I can share that the show is touring Australia until August (locations and details are provided in the attached blog).

If you appreciate supernatural and Gothic horror, exceptional storytelling and acting, along with impressive stagecraft, Woodward Productions' show is not to be missed!

If you want more of review, then opinion, the check out Douglas Kennedys review here!

There were a few minor differences from what I remembered seeing in London nearly 19 years ago, which is typical for a touring show. However, this did not impact my overall experience and enjoyment of the performance. Surprisingly, my only criticism of this touring production, unrelated to the show's content, is the setting and stage used for the performance.

What made my experience at the Fortune Theatre in London special was its historical significance. Built between 1922 and 1924, it was a gathering place for Georgian and Victorian actors, and it was the first theatre erected in London after World War I. With just 432 seats, it is one of the smallest West End theatres. The theater, renovated in 1960, was recognized as a Grade II listed building by English Heritage in May 1994.

The rich heritage and history of the venue truly enhanced the immersion into the show's time period and added to the overall experience, even down to the sound quality. However, when a modern venue hosts a period show, like one set in the Victorian or Edwardian era, it can dilute the atmospheric charm that made the London performance unforgettable, and It felt more like watching a play rather than feeling engulfed in the supernatural aura.

Nevertheless, despite this observation, the show still provided an exhilarating experience akin to a thrilling roller-coaster ride, and I will always want to go watch it again.

Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black adapted by Stephen Mallatratt. Stars John Waters and Daniel MacPherson. Directed by Robin Herford. Photo credit Justin Nicholas. Running time two hours (including interval). The show is Presented by PW Productions, Woodward Productions and Neil Gooding Productions and if your in the following areas for the Australian Tour the dates are below:


Now Playing to 11 May

Playhouse, QPAC


15 - 26 May

Dunstan Playhouse


30 May - 9 June

His Majesty’s Theatre


13 June - 6 July

Athenaeum Theatre


9 - 14 July

Canberra Theatre Centre


17 - 21 July

Illawarra Performing Arts Centre


23 - 27 July

Civic Theatre


30 July - 17 August

Theatre Royal Sydney


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