Following the West End premiere of Stephen Mallatratt’s play in 1989, The Woman in Black has celebrated a twenty-five year West End run and has been seen by over 7 million people. The show is described as “one of the most exciting, gripping and successful theatre events ever staged”.
Stuart speaks to London Theatre Direct about when he first saw The Woman In Black, how he unwinds from the show and why he thinks the play has been so incredibly successful…
When did you first see The Woman in Black?
I saw the show about 3 years ago. I’ve a lot of friends who’ve been in it and they’ve all said what a great experience it is.
What were your first impressions?
I thought it was very clever. The show within a show idea is inspired. It was hugely atmospheric; the auditorium and the stage suck you into this creepy dark world where you’re never sure what’s going to happen next.
How do the different audiences compare?
I love the screaming from school parties and miss it at the weekends. During the second half I spend a fair amount of time tucked in behind the proscenium arch and get to hear all sorts of things from the audience; such as ‘Oh for Christ’s sake, there she is!’ ‘I can’t take this anymore’; ‘Oh for pity’s sake what are you doing?’ ‘He’s going back in there’; ‘Oh no please not that please no!’
Can eight performances a week be exhausting?
I certainly feel a little tired after the final show on Saturday and I enjoy my two days off. I play guitar relentlessly. The atmosphere working on the show is very warm and friendly. The small scale of the setup makes for a family atmosphere.
Is it possible for you to put your finger on the show’s incredible success? It certainly doesn’t feel dated!
With it being a three hander with no lavish sets to operate and maintain means it can keep going in difficult times when other more expensive shows might falter. It’s a timeless show and we’re all fascinated by ghosts. We love the thrill of the seemingly impossible presence of a dead woman bent on revenge for something that happened back in the murky past.
The Woman in Black has such wide appeal, how do you think audiences should come away feeling after watching the show?
They should feel wrung out and impressed by the journey they’ve been on being created by just three people.
Interview by Andrew Tomlins
The Woman in Black tickets are available now, booking at the Fortune Theatre until Saturday 25th July 2015.
For more from The Woman In Black cast, read Andrew's recent Interview: The Woman In Black's Gwynfor Jones