Published : Thursday, September 20, 2018 | 5:26 AM
Pasadena Playhouse, the State Theater of California, presents London’s second longest-running West End play The Woman in Black, Wednesday, October 17 through Sunday, November 11. (Press opening is October 18). Over eight million people have lived to tell the tale of one of the most successful – and terrifying – theatre events ever staged. It is coming to rattle audiences in Pasadena just in time for Halloween, with all the stage wizardry that has led audiences in London to shriek in fear for over 28 years.
For this production, director Robin Herford is recreating his original staging for the first time in the United States. Susan Hill’s gothic ghost story, adapted for the stage by Stephen Mallatratt, is set in an isolated windswept mansion — with tragic secrets hidden behind its shuttered windows. There, a young lawyer encounters horrific visions in the house set amidst the eerie marshes and howling winds of England’s forbidding North Coast.
He is a man obsessed, believing that his family has been cursed by a ghostly woman in black; he tells his terrifying story to exorcise the fear that grips his soul. It all begins innocently enough, but as he reaches further into his darkest memories, he quickly finds that there is no turning back. With just two actors, The Woman in Black gives audiences an evening of unremitting drama and sheer theatricality as they are transported into a chilling and ghostly world.
Producing Artistic Director Danny Feldman said, “We’re very excited to be presenting one of the great international theatrical thrillers — and just in time for Halloween! This gripping production is a brilliantly successful study in atmosphere, illusion and controlled tension, and we are thrilled to be presenting it as it has been in London for nearly three decades.”
London’s The Independent said of it, “The atmosphere is so charged-up that on more than one occasion the entire audience screamed in terror.” The Daily Mail called it “A nerve-shredding experience.”
Reviewing the West End production this past January, The Daily Express said, “As the tale unfolds, it tightens its grip on the spectator like a medieval instrument of torture … It is all staged impeccably with amazing sound effects and shocks that make you jump out of your seat. But it is the simplicity that impresses. It is profoundly effective, and it will scare the living daylights out of you.”
The Guardian’s Mark Lawson said, “the great pleasure of the production remains the way in which Mallatratt and the director Robin Herford (who has been in charge of all the play’s incarnations) utilise the fears and imagination of the audience, so that, for example, a few glances and hand gestures create out of nothing a dog who is as convincing as animatronics, while a few puffs of stage smoke or a flap of fabric conjure up geographical and physical presences.”
The Woman in Black stars Bradley Armacost as Arthur Kipps and Adam Wesley Brown as The Actor.
Susan Hill’s novel, The Woman in Black was originally published in 1983. Stephen Mallatratt adapted for the stage in 1987 and it was produced as a low-budget holiday show at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough, U.K., where Herford was Artistic Director. The play transferred to London’s West End in January 1989. If this sounds familiar, this classic chiller was released as a major motion picture starring Daniel Radcliffe in 2012, and is the highest grossing British thriller in 20 years.
Tickets start at $25 and are available at pasadenaplayhouse.org, by phone at 626-356-7529, and at the box office at 39 South El Molino Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101. This American premiere production of the original London West End production, is presented by PW Productions and Pemberley Productions.
Premium Packages are also available starting at $65 – learn about Playhouse hauntings and ghost lore while enjoying a wine on the house. Oct 30-31 only. See The Woman in Black followed by a live recording of the podcast Hollyweird Paranormal – a podcast about Hollywood True Crime and the Paranormal based out of Los Angeles, CA. Hosts, Tammie Merheb-Chavez and Brice Mitchell Williams, share tales of true crime, the paranormal aftermath of those crimes and other Californian based lore. Episodes air every Sunday on Itunes, Google Play, TuneIn and Stitcher.