ONE of the greatest thrillers of all time, Susan Hill’s blood-chilling The Woman in Black, comes to Poole’s lighthouse arts centre for the week to Saturday 27th November, with Malcolm James as Arthur Kipps and Mark Hawkins as the Actor.
The Woman in Black, which never loses its power to shock, has been seen by more than seven million people in the UK since it opened 33 years ago, and has had an estimated 13,000 performances.
Malcolm James first played Arthur Kipps on a UK tour and then at the Fortune Theatre. His other West End credits include The Mousetrap at St Martin’s Theatre and Volpone at the National Theatre. Mark Hawkins first played The Actor at the Fortune Theatre and The Madinat Theatre. His other theatrical credits include The Railway Children at Kings Cross Theatre, Julius Caesar at The Globe, the UK tour of Lady Chatterley’s Lover and the international tour of The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.
Stephen Mallatratt’s adaptation of Susan Hill’s best-selling novel tells the story of a lawyer obsessed with a curse that he believes has been cast over his family by the spectre of a ‘woman in black’. He engages a young actor to help him tell his story and exorcise the fear that grips his soul. It begins innocently enough, but as they delve further into his darkest memories the borders between make-believe and reality begin to blur and the flesh begins to creep.
Following a Christmas production in 1987 at a pub in Scarborough, The Woman In Black was brought to Hammersmith’s Lyric Theatre in January 1989. Reviews were sufficiently encouraging to warrant a West End run. Its West End tour started at the Strand (now Novello) Theatre in March and moved to the Playhouse in April, finally lodging at the Fortune on June 7, 1989.
Pictured: Malcolm James as Arthur Kipps; photograph by Tristram Kenton