The Woman In Black: Prepare to be Petrified!
The Woman in Black is a superb book, play and film about a ghost that haunts a small English town, appearing before the sudden death of a child. Written by Susan Hill the novel was released in 1983 followed by a television play in 1989 and a film in 2012. The Woman In Black has also been made into a stage play that has a been showing at the Fortune Theatre in London since 1989 and is still as popular today as it was in 1983 when the book was published.
The stage play is simply superb and I have to say I found it very atmospheric and incredibly frightening, something I did not expect as I am not easily moved. The play follows in the great tradition of supernatural English pieces just as its forbears written by Dickens or Henry James. The atmosphere is electric creating a real atmosphere of horror, with hints of what is to happen that make for edge of the seat stuff.
The Woman In Black play is really chilling just as is reading the book. When I read the book way back when I tended to keep to afternoon reading when I could, as reading the book at night was a real no for me. It literally scared the pants off me and that’s no exaggeration. So, to the story that is, The Woman In Black.
Arthur Kipps is the main character, a solicitor who attends a funeral in a remote town on the East Coast of England. The house where the deceased lived is a foreboding place that is cut off from time to time by the tides. At the funeral of Alice Drablow the deceased he sees a mysterious woman in black standing nearby surrounded by children. She is pale gaunt and has piercing eyes. While Kipps sorts through Alice’s papers he begins to hear strange noises in the house such as children screaming, noises of a pony and trap in difficulty and unexplained happenings.
The Woman in Black turns out to be the sister of the deceased, Jennet, who is also dead. She haunts the house and marshes searching for her little boy who was killed in a pony and trap accident on the marshes leaving her bereft. The story is made more tragic by the fact that Alice had adopted her sisters little boy because she was an unmarried mother. Jennet was about to take the little boy away the day the tragedy occurred.
Legend had it that anyone who saw The Woman in Black would witness the death of a child. Kipps who had seen the woman returned home and some time later his wife and child were killed in a tragic accident also involving a pony and trap. It is a sad poignant sorry tale that tugs at the heart strings while frightening you to death.
The play for me was nothing short of phenomenal with wonderful acting, great effects and a superbly eerie atmosphere that kept me spellbound. The film that has just been released starring Daniel Radcliff of Harry Potter fame cannot compete in terms of the fear factor or the acting in my opinion. It does not capture the tension or the empathy audiences can feel when witnessing the play. If you have not seen the play I highly recommend you do. It is a great night out that will stay with you for a long time.
You can also get The Woman In Black Book from Amazon