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The Woman In Black


Fortune Theatre

Russell Street, London WC2B 5HH 0844 871 7637

  • Synopsis
  • Theatremonkey show opinion
  • Reader reviews
  • Performance schedule
  • Ticket prices

16th March 2020.
At this time there are NO performances of ANY production taking place in the West End or other London venues.

Stay safe, stay well.

Two actors relate a story of love and loss, building an atmosphere of terror in the audience. The Woman in Black may or may not be present in the stalls during the performance....

NOTE: Doors close 5 minutes before the advertised starting time at each performance.
 

The show stars Terence Wilton as ‘Arthur Kipps’ and Max Hutchinson as ‘The Actor’.  

Having previously played the role of ‘Arthur Kipps’ at the Fortune Theatre in 2017, Terence Wilton returns to the show this year. His other West End credits include “Never So Good” at the National Theatre, “Treatment” at the Donmar and “War Music” and “Antony and Cleopatra” at the Old Vic. Terence has also performed “The Taming of the Shrew” at the Royal Shakespeare Company among many other productions with the RSC in Stratford-upon-Avon, London and on tour. His television credits include BBC One’s “The Inspector Alleyn Mysteries” and “Doctor Who” and ITV’s “The Forsyte Saga”.

Max Hutchinson’s recent theatre credits include “The 39 Steps” at the Barn Theatre and Theatre Royal Windsor, “The Hound of the Baskervilles” and “The Notorious Mrs Ebbsmith” at Jermyn Street Theatre, and the UK Tour of “Murder On The Nile”. He has also appeared in the films “Dream Horse” and “Downton Abbey”. 

In June 2019 the show celebrated its 30th Anniversary in London’s West End with a special gala performance.

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, they find themselves caught up in a world of eerie marshes and moaning winds. The borders between make-believe and reality begin to blur and the flesh begins creep.

The show is directed by Robin Herford, with designs by Michael Holt and lighting by Kevin Sleep.

If you have ever read a Stephen King novel, Seen 'Psycho', or visited a fairground 'Haunted House', you may just be psychologically equipped to deal with the first few minutes of this thriller. After those though, you embark on an ever rising learning curve of fear, with dazzling writing and perfect timing from the actors drawing you towards the coldest chill in London theatre.

There is a good reason this play has run so long with little publicity: anyone who stumbles in HAS to go back, this time bringing a friend for moral support. Theatremonkey takes his psychiatrist to be on the safe side. Anyone surviving unscarred can boast about it - precious few. See it.

Legacy reader reviews

Dress Circle Row G seat 6 does have a seat in front of it and is just as cramped and uncomfortable as all the others.

I sat there for the matinee performance on Saturday 14th January 2012 and as the seat was next to the entrance/exit curtain was additionally entertained throughout by the chatter of staff downstairs in the bar.

Drinks, like the seats, were overpriced.

The play is vastly over-rated.

But, my step-daughter, whose birthday treat this was, enjoyed the afternoon, so that's alright then.
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Firstly, what a lovely little theatre this is! I've never been before and was very pleasantly surprised.

We were seated in the Dress Circle - G5 and G6. An excellent view of the stage (very close, even for the back of the circle) but the legroom again was minimal. Very comfortable seats but you really do need to fold your legs up!

I LOVED this show. The two actors were totally amazing. The set is so simple yet so effective and the lighting is used to such great effect. Plus this is a very scary show! I have never been in a theatre and heard so many people scream so many times (I managed not to but I did jump out of my skin on more than one occasion!) I cannot praise the two actors highly enough, they built the tension so well and their acting ability was stupendous.

What made the afternoon for me was that one of the very nice Ushers offered me and my Mum seats closer to the stage as there were some empty seats. We declined as we were quite happy where we were and I told him that we didn't want to go nearer the stage as we didn't want to get any nearer to the scary Woman in Black. He looked at me quizzically and with a twinkle in his eye, said "what Woman In Black, Madam?"
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30th November 2012

The biggest surprise of the evening was how small and old the theatre was. The capacity is 432, so it's less remarkable that this show regularly sells out.

I note that the monkey says "The Dress Circle overhangs the stalls at row H.", but despite being in row H 15-17, the overhang was very noticeable, turning the performance into letterbox format. The audience near the stage seemed to "enjoy" the play more than those at the back, judging by the screams, so if you don't want to be thinking "I'll have what she's having!" I suggest a seat in A-F.

The play was good, but not great. I didn't like the play-within-a-play format. It didn't add anything, except another 10 minutes of unnecessary repetition. There was some good acting from all 3 players. Inviting the audience to use imagination was fine up to a point, but the line was definitely crossed when Spider, the dog, turned out to be invisible and inaudible.

A few creepy moments, and some slamming doors elicited plenty of screams, but then all of a sudden it was over. More horror, and death would have helped. I think the problem is that I saw the film a few weeks ago, and this falls a long way short of that. I'd recommend watching the film AFTERWARDS.
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April 2013. I must be in the minority here. Perhaps having seen the film I was expecting too much, but I found it a bit boring. It certainly wasn't scary. The only part that made me jump was the train going past... and that is something that makes me jump when I'm actually on trains. Found the mixture of acting and story telling strange, it was as if they didn't have time to act it out, so had to fill in the bits so that it made sense.

Stalls Row B 7, 8 and 9: When we sat down my daughter was a bit scared to find we were in fact in the front row having been expecting a "protective barrier" of people between her and the action. As the extension to the stage sloped down towards us I was more concerned that I could end up with a stumbling actor in my lap. However, later I found the worst bit was the fog (dry ice) that is pumped out from under the stage on the left hand side, which left us unable to see the stage having engulfed seats A1-7, B1-11 and probably a lot of row C as well.

Although it passed fairly quickly it made quite a few people cough and was quite unpleasant to sit in. I think people with asthma or other respiratory conditions could find this a problem. Other than that as already noted by other people you do have to look up, but the view is excellent, my daughter said it was like being part of the cast!

Lynn.
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Having seen the film and heard great reviews from this production, I personally felt the show was a complete let down! I was bored after 20 minutes (and extremely uncomfortable), and wasn't the slightest bit frightened or entertained.

Luckily we got a good deal - paid £50 for two tickets and two 2 course meals at a local restaurant.

We dared not move from our seats in the interval - as we couldn't have got out even if we tried - so we missed buying a program, tried after the show but as the tills had been put away we were not allowed (even though the program was there - a free one would have been a nice gesture - we waited a good 15 minutes to be once again let down).

We sat in the upper circle row C. My seat was 'broken', well, I say broken but several nearby had the same problem. It wouldn't sit flat, so I spent the entire time sat crunched up. We are both around 5ft 4 and suffered due to the lack of leg room, our knees were literally overhanging the seats in front, hitting the head in front and were practically chest high.

The theatre was generally grim, and I certainly would never return there.
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July 2013. I saw this show back in around 1992, but it was my wife's first time. We sat in the stalls, seats F7 and F8; naturally felt very close to the stage in such a small theatre. Our eye level was just above the front of the stage and although the rake isn't great the view was fine. Legroom perfectly acceptable for my height. Only minor issue was that a trunk on stage mostly hid a key piece of the action, so a seat more towards the middle would be preferable. The air conditioning was very welcome last night too! We paid £25 per ticket on an offer, so the seats were excellent value.
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SPOILER ALERT THROUGHOUT
There are a lot of good things to say about The Woman in Black. But it is NOT terrifying.....or even really scary. 'A bit "tense" in places would about sum it up.

What you get is an old fashioned, no-special-effects tour de force in acting. The production consists of a stage, two actors, both highly skilled.....and virtually nothing else. It's a pleasure to see real actors plying their trade in a way that is virtually unheard of in the West End these days. The story is interesting, well performed (thanks again to the stellar acting skills of the two gentlemen who comprise the entire cast (save the brief...and silent.... appearance of an anonymous lady dressed in a witch-like Halloween costume, representing the Woman in Black). Just to see old-school actors at work makes it worth spending the afternoon or evening watching this minor gem.

But as to "terrifying"....I can only think that those who write of how utterly scary this production is....how they left the theatre shaking in fear......are simply highly suggestible sorts who got carried away with the hype. Each of the few "scary" moments has one thing in common.....a thing that is perhaps unnoticed by the majority of the audience. At the exact moments that the audience are expected to scream in "terror", a VERY loud audio track of.........a screaming woman........is suddenly played over the theatre's PA system. This alone, without any sort of plot-based suspense build up, would induce you to jump in your seat....much as having someone sneak up behind you quietly and then yell "boo" in your ear might do. That's about it as far as terror, really. A few contrived "BOOs", where a loud scream is suddenly played over the sound system at a tense, but not particularly terrifying moment.

But apart from the "cheap trick" of simply scaring the audience with an unexpected loud noise a few times during the performance.....TWIB is nonetheless well worth seeing. Just don't expect to leave quaking in your boots.
SPOILERS END.
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Having seen this play four times in previous years, we had some American visitors over and decided three days beforehand to book it. We could only get row K 16,17,18 and 19.

I was a bit concerned about the overhang of the balcony but it made no difference. Before we would always have been sitting closer. But these seats were terrific anyway. Plenty of leg room which was surprising. Easy entry and exit as the door is just behind you to the bar/hallway.

Gwynfor Jones is remarkable. His ever so slight mannerisms are a joy to watch as he unravels the story, sentence by sentence....possibly the best I have seen.....huge presence on the stage and you believed every word.

The swirling fog is scary and the audience literally leapt out of their seats many times.....this play is remarkable in that it plays on your imagination. For instance 'Spider' the dog is unseen but you can 'see' him as you truly believe what you are seeing. The rocking of the chair is something that stays with you when you come out of the theatre.

Drinks were actually not too expensive. We got a wonderful chilled bottle of Prosecco for 22 pounds and you could order cocktails/drinks for the interval and they were waiting for you when you came out. Very well organised.

The production of this play still impresses me. It is very hard to have a captive audience with just two actors but it just works. The way they seamlessly change characters is just brilliant. The trap and horses scenes are just captivating in their simplicity.

I would highly recommend this play. I fully intend to go back again and again just to witness an old fashioned ghost story!!!
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I would give this show four out of five stars. It is a must see show for anybody, a real scare ride that takes the audience in its grasp and doesn't let them go for two whole hours. A concise, thrilling and superb play that attacks the senses and the nerves.

I have seen this twice, once on tour and another time in the West End. I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a great piece of theatrical storytelling or more simply a good scare. Using a limited set and versatile actors the play takes the audience on a journey to Eel Marsh house and into a terrifying ghost story that will frighten children and adults alike. It is quite remarkable how successful and well this play has done but that stands as testament to the enduring quality of the show and the effect it has on every person who comes to watch it.


Seat Review:  I sat in the centre of the stalls and I would definitely recommend this. For this show, being part of the action in the stalls, encourages a truly frightening experience. ATG tickets very often do special offers so it's best to keep on checking their website for new offers as you can sometimes get a good seat in the stalls for under 20 pounds! In the circle you will still feel frightened and part of the action but the stalls are the best bet, in my opinion.

Laurence T.
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I saw Woman in Black last night, 3rd March 2015. I saw it originally ten years ago when I was about 14 on tour to Theatre Royal, Bath. Anyway it was so much better than I remembered... Julian Forsyth was AMAZING!! So well written!! It's almost like "a love letter to theatre"? Thrilling. What a fab little theatre too.

We had C12 and C13 (centre section on the aisle). Thank you to the monkey for his recommendations! The front of stalls centre section really are the best in the house. I was worried about the stage being too high... it wasn't, in fact you could still see the floor. I also recommend the aisle seat for a particularly excellent, immersive view. If you wanted to pay top dollar for the premium seats further back I'd say go for it but I would still prefer to be nearer the stage!!

I felt very comfortable but I should say that my friend got a slight crick in his neck. I don't know why because he's tall and we could both see the floor... might be relevant to some people.

I really would avoid the side section of the stalls.

We got these as SOLT did half price on these tickets as a winter promo (Get Into London Theatre).
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I sat in H9, a good view of the raised stage, the Fortune is a small theatre so most seats in the stalls provide a decent view.

The Woman in Black promises chills and thrills, but doesn't really deliver (in my opinion).

I found the first hour fairly dull as they get work to get the actual story going. The two actors are very good and they have very limited props to work with. The imagination of the audience is certainly nurtured and stretched during the performance, but I found the appearance of the woman in black was not scary. I jumped at the loud noises and screams, at various moments, usually unexpected. I wasn't terrified or chilled, I slept well on my return home.

Maybe I'm just a bit braver than I thought!?
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"Woman in Black" offers discounts for students if you go to the box office and ask in person (found out by accident the first time I was in London and the box office agent asked if I was a student when I went to purchase tickets). It might require a student ID at the box office agent’s discretion. I don’t know all of the details, but I’ve taken advantage of this twice and gotten fantastic seats in the stalls for £25 (never asked about the rates for the upper levels because the stalls are the best way to experience the show, in my opinion). The last time I purchased these tickets was on January 14, 2019 for the performance on January 15, 2019, so it might be possible to do on the day as well so long as they have tickets left.
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"I was intrigued by the concept and staging. My husband enjoyed the acting. My son was a bit bored with plays within plays. as I was not able to explain what the plot was when he asked. I hadn't realized from the synopsis that I'd read that the set up was another play within a play. In spite of the double play I think he enjoyed it, and I know both he and my husband got a huge kick out of how high I jumped during those couple of surprising turns."
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As a part of studying AS Theatre Studies (a U.K. examination for 17 year old students) we have to see several live productions. As a class we went to see The Woman In Black and I have to admit we were all rather skeptical when we read reviews on how the audience screamed with terror. 

However these reviews were certainly correct; as someone who is not easily scared it certainly had me screaming with fright!

This play was absolutely brilliant and 7 months after first seeing it everyone in my class can remember ever part in graphic detail. I just thought that these comments might inspire others to go see this spectacular play. 
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I have seen "Woman In Black" twice, and still find the play as spine tingling as ever!

My school went on a trip to the Fortune Theatre to see it on Wednesday 10th July and to our teachers amusement none of us could bear to walk down the street without screaming!

One thing which was annoying was the speed of the play at the beginning, my teachers felt that the play could move more fluently at the start.

All in all my school enjoyed this play and we are all recommending our families to go!
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Wow!

I was going to leave it at just that one word, but i couldn't resist adding more! I went to see it with my school, and I can honestly say the whole audience was blown away. 

The acting was superb, and the set, and the storyline had so many twists and turns, that you didn't know where you were half of the time. Currently in the West End, Timothy Watson and Robert Demenger play, both extremely talented men. 

Upon returning for a second visit I was still equally as shocked, and moved! Everyone simply has to see this play!!! Just one word of advice, watch out in the stalls!!!

Danielle Klentzeris, 
Cardiff.
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The scariest time of your life, that is IF you live through it!!!

Like Wow!!! I totally agree with Danielle.

This production seriously comes back to haunt you when you're ever left in the dark or ever hear that haunting melody: Swan Lake. OR even worse hearing the thud, thud, thud freaks you out!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Louisa Wilkes, 
Cardiff/Hollywood.
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I went to see the show last night and it was absolutely amazing!!! Even after reading the reviews on this page, describing audiences screaming in terror, I believed it couldn't actually be that scary, but believe me it was! It is an absolute must, thinking about it now, makes me shudder! Fantastic!

Holly Tate
Surrey

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It was amazing. 

Like so many others I went to see it with my school. My teachers take GCSE drama in year11 every year. Those in the year above said how scary it was, and we all thought, "yeah right how is the theatre scary". But it so was! Everyone was screaming and jumping out of their seats. It was extremely cleverly done and everyone really enjoyed it. Definitely worth going to see. It was fantastic.
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All reviews of this play follow a strict cliché whereby the reviewer expresses their cynicism prior to the performance, contrasted with their terror during, and surprise after the show. And who am I to break with such traditions?

I went in to the Fortune Theatre expecting an afternoon of entertainment rather than to be frightened. I had always assumed that in the thriller genre, theatre would, by nature play second-fiddle to film. However, I was wrong. The show is so edgy, so tense as to be entertaining only in hindsight. 

The first half comprises a semi-gothic, even half-comic melodrama designed to strip away any mental preparation the audience may have made for the shows horrors which come with tremendous force after the interval. 

The second half is spent firmly gripping the armrests in anticipation of the next burst of unbridled terror accompanied by a nausea-inducing flood of adrenaline. Whilst the actual shocks last no more than a few seconds in total, the suspense is so carefully managed as to leave you wanting to escape from the theatre for at least 45 mins.

Imagine the scariest theatrical production you could ever imagine, multiply this by a gripping horror film and add a night you have spent alone wishing it was morning. This  concoction of utter horror still cannot come close to the pure theatrical genius of the Woman in Black. (and this is pure theatre of the sort that could never be captured ones film).

One warning - You'll be sleeping with the light on and running away from shadows for months afterwards. Best to go for a matinee so you don't emerge onto a Dark Russell Street to torment you further!

Only sit in the stalls if you are of extremely sound mind. Here the terror is most intense.

William Cooper
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My weekend started with seeing "Our House" on the Friday. Returning to London on the Saturday for a day out, we went to the TKTS office to see what shows would be on offer for the evening and so we got 2 tickets for this play. 

I've always been more of musical person that plays when I'm paying out £20+ for a ticket but at £18 each and the fact that I'd seen a musical already this weekend, along with the fact that my girlfriend had said before she wanted to see this, we got the tickets and thought we would see what it was like.

Seated in a very small theatre (it used to be a church on this site many years ago, so maybe it has its real ghost !!!) as we went to our seats we knew we were in the show well almost with seats this close to the stage. No seat is every far away. My seat in D1 was just a little restricted in the fact of seeing the far side of the stage but this did not spoil it all.

It starts maybe a little slow but that's all part of the story and how its told, and what makes the outcome ..... well if you go and see it you will understand.

Anyway the basics, there are two men on stage and they take you thought the story of the Island and the Woman in Black , if you are seated in the stalls you see more that you would in the circle due to what happens in the stalls...that I won't say now! And well it can spook you, I don't get spooked by horrors etc but my girlfriend does and she was just a little jumpy.

There's a few twists and I think this is a play that could get "musical preference" people like me to see other plays. Normally the only time I would see a play was if it was a comedy.

It's been running in London for many years now; go see it - its worth a view and the TKTS office often had tickets for it.

Alun Moss. 
Basildon, Essex

Saturday 14th June, Evening performance. 
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I last saw this play about 3 or 4 years ago, and have booked to go see it again next week (July 03) for the 6th time, and can't wait! 

It is simply a delicious, juicy night of chills and jumps! It is brilliantly devised, with two actors re-telling a story, and I love the bit where the 'actor' tells the 'student', 
"I'll play you, and you play all the other characters" 
or words to that effect. 

With just brilliant acting, great use of props, lighting and dry ice etc, and sound effects that just make you believe you're "there", the entire event is totally satisfying. You will want to go back with a friend, not, as another reviewer put it, for moral support, but more, I suspect, to take wicked pleasure at seeing them jump and grip the seat, or even your arm! And the theatre itself is just so beautifully spooky when you enter first! 

If you are any way unsure about going to see a play instead of a musical, then this is the one to go to. Even on my 5th visit I jumped, as I had forgotten some of the scary bits. Enjoy it!!!!!

KC, 
Ireland
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I'm sorry, I thought "Woman In Black" really sucked. It was too predictable. The creaking chairs made the sound effects useless, and what was even worse was that at school I had to put up with several days of people going on about it. 

he acting was good, however sometimes Pip Donaghy went a little overboard.

Shanta Kumar 

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"It was 9:30 on a Christmas Eve..... I walked down the long hallway....

This was a most wonderful production and the ending was a thrill, we are going back in November 2003 and taking my 14 year old niece and we plan on taking her to this play....

FOLLOWING THAT SECOND VISIT!

.... I did take my 14 year old niece to the play and she really loved it, it's a thriller but not really scary - I saw about three years ago and really wanted to see it again.p> You can almost always get tickets at the TKTS half price booth we had seats in 5th row Upper Circle, the seats are rather small with no leg room but otherwise OK.

They have different actors than when I saw it before but I still really enjoyed the production and since I had forgotten a few things I still jumped a few times when I heard the SCREAM and when the door opened.

Kathy Sutter
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Yes, this is a thrilling and well done performance which is as good as many other (but "sexed up") productions in the West End. The two actors succeed in thrilling even (first giggling) school classes in matinees within 20 minutes.
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I agree with all of you!

I went to see it with my GCSE (an English school examination for those aged 16) drama group set 1 and set 2. I've heard from my teachers who have seen it before that it was scary but it didn't really sink in, until I got to the theatre. 

Even outside before the show I was scared. Overall, it was the most spine-chilling most amazing play ever! I HIGHLY recommend EVERYONE to go and see it... PLEASE go and see it!!

Ashleigh Barretto
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Sat in box - lovely! But speakers are in your ears.

Lots of loud noises at unexpected moments, although gripping story, and well acted by the three cast members.

Woman seems to be Michael Jackson.

"Woman In Black" pulls in the screams and gives a shiver - yes, but as soon as it finishes (very well) it loses all its magic.

See it if you want a scream, and by all means it is a good production (in a hideous theatre) but think very carefully, there are far better things on.

Alf
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Saw this show last night (13th March 2004) and was amazed.  This show had us riveted to our seats (apart from the screams when I must have jumped about a foot each time).  We couldn't wait for the interval to end to find out what happened next. 

We sat in Row K in the stalls and had a great view.  We got the tickets from a ticket booth recommended by Theatre Monkey and paid just £22 each no booking fees it was definitely good value for money.

Five stars for this show would recommend it to anybody.

S Allum
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Well...

I was absolutely terrified! Loved the show, hated having to walk home and hated waking up at 2.30am seeing her white withered face floating around my room but never mind!!!

Only problem was the loud tourists (I won't say where they were from) constantly moving around and leaning forward throughout. Thankfully they were shut up accordingly the moment things turned freaky-deaky!!!

Mark
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For those who like a good scare, horror movies and camp fire ghost stories "Woman in Black" will bring the experience to a whole new level...by inviting the object of your fear into the room with you! 

The show is deeply terrifying but also incredibly gripping and well written. I believe the play itself is captivating even without the scare factor. 

The atmosphere of this ghost story is added to by your surroundings in the ageing Fortune Theatre and by the intimacy of the performance due to the small stage and auditorium. With a combination of that and strong acting from a 2 man cast it isn't long before you are drawn in and feel like you are part of the performance, which is convenient because it seems that it takes just as long for the story to become terribly dark and disturbing. 

This show doesn't rely at all on sudden mood changes or loud jumpy snippets of action (although there are some shocking moments) but tension, intriguing, yet, chilling script and the art of good old fashioned story telling... with a twist. 

Even if you aren't the ghost story type it's definitely worth seeing, though not for the faint of heart! Out of the 20 college friends I went with to see this show first time around 5 still claim to have nightmares about it while the other 15 came away dying to seeing it again... and most of us did. 

Some of the atmosphere can be lost with the touring production due to location, so I recommend you see it in London... I will definitely be going again! 

TwistedPixie
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(from the Nottingham Touring production)

A truly terrifying thriller.

We saw this production in Nottingham as part of our GCSE (an English, Welsh and Northern Irish national school examination taken at 16) course. We will be using this production in our exam.

Within the opening few minutes of the play, the audience is 'indirectly spooked' in preparation for what is about to happen. Throughout the whole play the audience is bother scared and gripped to the amazing story.

This play features just two cast members (and a ghost) and uses a minimal set (a technique similar to that of Brechtian).

As soon as the audience sees the spectres face, they acquire the impression that she is staring at them individually as they experience the dreadfulness of her expression.

The play also uses all the doors in the auditorium for a full 3D effect. The Woman makes her first appearance at a child's funeral. A child she has a strong connection with...

See this play? YES
Sleep at night afterwards? NO
Highly recommended thriller with a slight edge of dark humour. Just don't walk the streets alone, or buy a rocking chair after seeing this...
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Saw "Woman In Black" on Saturday 15th May 2004. Fantastic! Saw it 10 years ago - forgotten how good it was! The spooky atmosphere "made the flesh creep" ( - as my partner put it!) added to by the screams from the audience - I didn't know whether to scream along or laugh! Poor seats though - row A upper circle -
the safety bar was a real hindrance to a good view. This is one show where they really should ban the eating of goodies with noisy wrappers - the rustling really interrupts and spoils the building of tension which is paramount to the production's success.
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(from the Torques Touring production)

OH MY GOD!

I saw this show in London about two years ago and got NO sleep WHAT SO EVER for two nights (and very little for weeks after that!). It is the scariest thing you could ever ever ever see! I was astounded.

I was with my school for a week during “project week” it was all we talked about for days afterward. Then I went back to school and other people, who hadn’t seen it, couldn’t believe that a person could be so morbidly afraid by a mere theatre show as opposed to, say, a movie! I TRIED my VERY VERY best to persuade them that in many respects it is WORSE in a theatre because you are THERE. You are DIRECTLY involved with it…it is LIVE! But none believed me…

...SO imagine my JOYOUS SURPRISE when the self same play (featuring the understudies from the London show) came to TORQUES…a mere trip down the road. Now, none of the friends I wanted to take do drama at GCSE - and neither do I - but we managed to blag a bus ride to the show with the drama group…needless to say my friends who thought they’d find it laughable where totally scared out of their wits…as the "Daily Express" says: "it is a truly nerve-shredding experience….GO AND SEE IT!!!"

Also PLEASE visit my site www.freewebs.com/sammy_pile as there will soon be writing about the show and a link to the official website!!!!!!!!
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What an absolutely fantastic experience. Got half price tickets in row J and was not disappointed.

It's all so well played that you forget it's just two actors, playing actors (it all makes sense when you see the show, honest). This is all happening in front of you. It's not a play. It's real.

There IS a causeway. There IS a pony and trap, There IS a dog. And there IS a Woman in Black.

The first half slowly draws you in. You think it'll all be okay. Apart from a couple of frights, it's not been too bad an experience.

But by halfway through the second half you are too scared to watch anymore. You want the lights to come on and for you to be able to go home. You want to be safe in your bed. Lock all the doors and windows and you'll be okay. 

But unfortunately that doesn't happen and things just get worse and worse, until you no longer want to go home. You're too scared to go home.

She'll be there. Her eyes staring. Staring right through into your very soul.  

Mummy help!!

Tim Holloway
Norfolk
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How this production has lasted 16 years on the West End is simply incomprehensible. It is difficult to decide what disappoints most throughout, what really does feel like, the two hours it lasts.

An entirely visually uninspiring grey backdrop opens the play, which looks untouched since opening night in 1989, and is revived only somewhat by the silkscreen effect during the second half at ‘Eel Marsh House’. The stage direction is no better; at one point the movement of the protagonists from a street scene to an office is signified by a contrived series of movements across the stage, as might be expected only in a school play. 

In Act II, the method employed to instill terror in the audience is the repeated playing of dangerously loud screams, which does build anticipation. However this is only the anticipation felt of wanting to leave the theatre. 

This tourist aimed production is an unfortunate letdown, which hopefully is not associated too greatly with the real theatre that can be found in the West End. "The Woman in Black" could indeed be described as ‘ghastly’, but for all the wrong reasons.

Tom Brown,
London
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I saw "Women In Black" the other day as part of my drama G.C.S.E (a British school examination, taken at age 16),and it was great. I heard stories about being scary, but trying to be macho I decided to sit near the aisle, big mistake, the whole macho idea went out the window and I found myself jumping out of my seat but unlike a horror movie you can't pause it or hide behind a pillow, it's like you're in the horror movie, the two lead actors were fantastic and the way they used the prop basket for a number of things was very effective.

A brilliant show which I would love to see again to scare the pants off me people! But next time I might bring a pillow.
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I went on 2 November 2005 at 8pm. Stalls Row B seats 11/12. Nice seats and view. Plenty of leg room. Just our luck we choose one day out of an 18 year run when the theatre seemed to be over run with feral teenagers on a school trip, though.

Furthermore, the play was so dull it encouraged them to heckle continuously 'this isn't scary' etc, etc - all the way through.

I will admit, all the reviews I read beforehand, including plenty on this site, did lead me to believe it would be a chilling nail biter. No doubt the teens were also expecting something more. However, it was about as scary as a ghost train. With The Woman in Black looking like she'd be more at home haunting the fairground on Scooby Doo.

Very poor.

KJ Hailes
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The play was freaking scary!!!! My heart was pounding by the end. Scary stuff.

You are dead right about Upper Circle Row A. We sat in A13 and A14, and I had to watch the first half through the gap in the safety rail. Legroom was ok for me, but I'm 5 foot; it was cramped for my taller friend.

We moved to the Dress Circle box at the interval, and though views to the sides were limited we had a much better view, much closer to the stage, and plenty of room to stretch out.
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This play is absolutely brilliant. A spine tingling story with excellent acting, from beginning to end, it exudes imaginative flare and is simply unforgettable! I even scared myself witless the night after, just thinking about it! The story is very cleverly portrayed using only a few props. It’s a very riveting production and I was certainly immersed in it right till the scary end!

Definitely not to be missed.

Abhi
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We went on 9th August 2006. I never thought I would be interested in a show with just two characters and hardly any scenery, but I was engrossed for the whole time, and would definitely recommend it to anyone. But as other reviews have said there are some "scary" moments which will make you jump, so if your of a "nervous disposition" then maybe give it a miss.

Now for the theatre. We took up one of these "Theatre and Meal" deals from Lastminute.com. Okay, so not bad for £20 for the ticket and the meal - but this was the first time we had tried this out, and I think I would pay the extra to sit where I want - but that's me !

"The Woman in Black" was paired with "Rock Garden" in Covent Garden, choice of two courses, i.e. either a "starter and Main" or "Main and dessert," from a set menu. They did try and "up sell" the drinks as these were extra, trying very hard to sell my wife a glass of Criquet for £10 a glass. Apart form that it was fine.

We were given C7 and C8 in the Upper Circle. Good view as the theatre is not that high, though there was a couple of sequences that were at the very very front of the stage which we could not see. Legroom was a bit cramped and I am not even that tall.

Bar prices reasonable and all and all value for money and a great show !!
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I was sat in the Stalls, row G (seat 10) in fact, to watch this play and the view of the stage was very good. Also, there was plenty of leg room in the seats so having to endure aching legs whilst watching the play.

I cannot think of enough words to show how much I enjoyed "The Woman In Black", the most impressive aspect is that you don't really realise that the cast consists of two central characters.

I loved the way that humour was used at the start to draw the audience in, then as the play continued the suspense increased until you wondered what was going to happen next.

Paul Shelley and Damien Matthews deserve a huge pat on the back for their excellent performances as Arthur Kipps and the Actor.

A must see if you like suspense ... just take a friend if you are especially nervous !!
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The classic approach to ascertaining whether you will find this thriller scary and moreover entertaining is to ask which you found scarier: "An American Werewolf in London" or "The Blair Witch Project." However, despite being very much in the former group of the two I was terrified in a couple of parts and at one point in the second act yelled out a very manly scream. Anyone who went on 9th November 2006? - That was me.

The fact that there are only two cast members does not detract from the production as the casting was fantastic - both actors' performances were best I have seen on stage for a while. It was not difficult to feel that at least half the audience had seen it before. The tension rises before the scary points and you can cut the atmosphere with a knife but this does not spoil the play as you might expect.

We were in seats B14 / B15 in the dress circle and found the view to be very good although not excellent as you would expect. The metal bars are in actual fact very low and it is only in a couple of points that they affect the view as the action nears the audience. At some points though you are glad to be away from the action - theatre goers with a heart condition should not sit in the aisle seats in the stalls!

A consequence of its 20+ year run is that if you are an avid theatre goer you have probably already seen it. - Twice. If not, book now! If on the other hand you are just starting off then still see it - only determined macho-driven men like me have a chance of not being scarred by this production.

Benjamin
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Decided to watch this play again after enjoying it so much last year, so attended on 29th August 2007 and sat in seats (Stalls G10 and G11) which offered a good view of the stage.

Have to admit that whilst I enjoyed the performance, I did prefer last years production more.

However, this performance may have been affected by one person messing around with their mobile phone and a couple of others needlessly chattering during the play. Noise like this spoils the atmosphere needed for this play to work.

If you like a play with a few scares then pop down to the Fortune and see this play. Remember to take a friend if you're easily frightened !
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I have to say that my wife and I, after reading various reviews, were looking forward to watching this play.

As it turned out, what a let-down. Apart from the fact that the play barely comes alive only after the interval, there is more scariness in a ghost train ride at a fairground then there is in this production.

We were that bored that we even contemplated leaving at the interval!

David
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Got given tickets for my birthday to go see the show as I'd seen it a few years back and it absolutely terrified me! So I was so chuffed to be able to take my boyfriend to see it this time... and see if it could scare him! It didn't, but he must of been lying.

The only suggestion I have is, and I don't mean to sound like a scrooge, but the theatre should really put a ban on little screaming girls! It ruined it for me and my party, made the play seem really immature.

But anyway, other than that; fantastic show, fantastic acting and fantastic atmosphere.

Leanne
Performance: 2nd February 2008.
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Wow. This is a very powerful play! It was very good, the second Act is extremely scary... Oh-my-god that scream is horrible... and the woman in black is so creepy!

I would still suggest everyone to go and see it. I couldn't sleep with the light off for a few nights, and I just had a nightmare about it last night!! BUT, it is a brilliant play from a drama perspective - will have to go and see it again before my drama exam.
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After many years of wanting to go to 'The Woman In Black' (literally, since I was a child!), but always finding something else to see, safe in the knowledge that it would probably run forever, I finally took my 15-year-old niece to the Fortune Theatre yesterday (6th September 2008). Unfortunately, the years of waiting were not rewarded by a great theatrical experience.

First of all, we had bought half price tickets from Leicester Square and got row F11 and F12 of the Dress Circle. I have never felt so much like a sardine in a theatre! At 6', things can be difficult but this was outrageous, especially considering these are classed as top price seats. I also had to contend with someone's head blocking the middle of the stage and a Pringle-munching heathen next to me, but the worst thing by far was the legroom. If the theatre really thinks that these seats are comparable to being in the stalls, then it is seriously deluded. You also miss out a bit on the scares - for example, I am still unsure as to why aisle seats in the stalls are so nerve-wracking. Therefore, I think some of the Dress Circle should be marked in red as it really is substandard.

As for the show, I can see why it's so popular with school groups as it's a clever, well-staged and easy to follow piece of theatre that plays a little bit like a textbook of 'how to produce effects on a tight budget'. But as someone who's a fan of modern horror, I have to agree with a previous reviewer in that the shocks are ghost-train style (and a mild ghost train at that), the story takes you from A to B with no real suspense or twists, and the overall effect is one of musty relic rather than edge-of-your-seat thriller.

I'm glad I finally saw it, but I expected a whole lot more.
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This show is incredible!! My boyfriend and I went to see it one Saturday night (my "punishment" for making him see a musical the last time), knowing nothing about it other than what we had read on Theatremonkey, and we were beyond thrilled with our decision to see it! I don't think I've ever been so scared in my life (and my boyfriend has the nail marks in his hand to prove it!); the actors, all two of them, not including the woman in black, were just awesome in their many roles.

The theatre itself added to the atmosphere; it's so old it's almost crumbling around you!! We heard that it's currently under renovation, but I hope that they don't update any of the features. We were sat in D12 and 13 in the dress circle and although the view was brilliant, there is no space to speak of. At all. The poor woman in front of me was subject to my foot in her lower back on several occasions, just as I was from the man behind me. After a while, you get kind of used to it, but nothing can prepare you for the numb bum!! I couldn't comment on the seats in the stalls as I didn't see them, but I would not recommend the dress circle for anyone above 5'10 as my boyfriend had some real problems cramping himself in.

That said, numb bum is a small price to pay for a show as fantastic as this!!
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This play was recommended to us so we were looking forward to it and anticipating being scared out of our seats. What a let down. We were very disappointed - and confused about why on earth it's been running for so long. It's slow to warm up - in fact it never really did - the story is predictable, the theatrical effects pedestrian, and the characters fail to inspire any empathy.

We're glad we've seen it because we were curious. But we've seen two plays recently at the Almeida Theatre in Islington. The seats didn't cost quite as much, the actors were household names, and there was much more 'theatre' involved. We enjoyed both plays far more.

Swamp-Pokey
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The Woman in Black certainly lives up to it's reputation. This is theatre in the raw.

There are no overtures or bright lights and certainly no stunning costumes or lavish sets. Don't get me wrong, it takes skill to select appropriate costumes and stage a set to give the effect of minimalist dinge, appropriate to the story, but it relies heavily on 2 actors weaving a magical spell on a very small auditorium. and quite simply, they do it fantastically. There are long monologues and humour and perfect timing, the accent range is excellent.

We went to a matinee on Saturday 29th August 2009. The theatre is quirky in that you go down a flight of stairs to the stalls and the effect is rather like being shrunk into a Pollock's toy theatre. Although we had considerably more leg room than in most theatres (we were in row D seats 13 and 14 on the aisle), if I must make a criticism it is that you do have to look up all the time - so don't sit so close if you have neck problems

The actors were superb after a sudden start (a quick warning for the turning off of phones and an actor appeared on stage whilst everyone was still fumbling in their bags, as there is no safety curtain to be raised at the beginning).

Once it gets going it is a riveting play, full of suspense, screams and jumpy bits. There is a smoke machine or 2 and, whilst very effective, it does cause rather a lot of coughing from the audience. The line is something like 'I cant see the house at all' and certainly anyone in the front 5 rows couldn't see the stage or even the person sitting next to them. There were several coughs carrying on for about 10 minutes, take a scarf to cover your face if you are asthmatic.

We were on the aisle and characters do appear there from time to time, but having been told it was good to be on the aisle I am not sure why. SPOILER ALERT I didn't jump and wasn't grabbed or anything, but I have to admit as the play went on I did glance over my shoulder from time to time to see if the 'woman in black' would appear in the aisle as I had heard she does appear here and there, but again, I needn't have worried - and saved myself the distraction from the play.

I love all theatre, and on this occasion I took my mother in law who has a preference for musicals (it was her suggestion to go to something different) and she loved it. The play lasts about 2 hours and is well worth a look.

Jos Hockley
London
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26th January 2010: This is my third visit to see this play in London, I purchased my tickets on a 2 for 1 deal on a website.

Funnily enough it's probably been my favourite visit, that's purely down to the superb audience reaction to what was happening on stage. I can only imagine the "screamers" must not have seen it before because as the tension built up so did their scream factor. I had one "screamer" sat next to me and she nearly rendered me deaf in the closing moments. But that made my night, not ruin it as I loved that some people had immersed themselves so deeply into the story that they didn't care they may look silly due to their reactions.

The performances of both actors were fantastic, an improvement on my last visit a couple of years back but I think that may have been more due to some idiot messing about with his mobile phone during the performance.

My brother and I were sat in the stalls, seats J7 and J8 which gave an excellent view of the stage and there's plenty of legroom so comfort isn't a problem.

If either yourself, a partner, a relative or a friend like a good scare then book to see The Woman In Black you'll have a great night out, it's been playing in the West End for 21 years now so it must be doing something right.
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We got half price tickets, thanks for the link theatremonkey, for the Saturday afternoon show (30th January 2010). We sat in the Stalls J 1 and 2 on the aisle. J1 is listed as red in the seating plan but I found no problem with it, the view is not obstructed in any way. Row J is a good place to sit as it is not too close to the stage so you are not looking upwards all the time. The leg room is very good in the stalls, I am 6ft 4 and often have problems but it is very good here. It is a nice small theatre and you feel very close to the action.

I found the show itself to be very well acted by the two performers. It uses a clever form of story telling to weave through the piece using two performers. The stage, while small and fairly basic in set up, is well used; and includes two further sections behind the front curtain. I think the scary element of the show is overplayed a bit though, reviews like 'You will be scared witless' go a bit over the top in my opinion. There are moments that will scare and make people jump; but no easily scared person should be put off by the way the show is marketed. It is certainly no horror show or scare fest or anything like that. This is a very well written and acted atmospheric play that is well worth a visit.
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I went and saw the' Women in Black' on Saturday 11th July 2009.

We sat in Stalls, Row F, seats 12 and 13. These seats gave an almost central view of the stage and were close enough to experience some the ‘action’.  At 5ft 8 I found the seats gave me adequate legroom but anyone taller might have a problem and although the rake of the seating is hardly noticeable, the stage is high enough for even the shortest of people to see over heads in front of them.

Sad to see that the sofas (at the side of the stalls) have now gone!
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Wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this show, but knew it had been running for some time so must be pretty good. I normally go for musicals, so this was also something very different for me.

Was initially surprised by the format – only two actors – and the first half was a bit slow. I got to the interval wondering where this was all going and having doubts about why this had been so popular for 20+ years and then, curtain up and away we go.......

What a contrast to the first half – I actually think that was all part of the plan – a slow build up leaving you with no clear idea of where this was going; we were lulled into a false sense of security. This was the 3pm showing and so we found ourselves sharing the theatre with quite a few school children but, that did not detract from performance – the many screamers actually fuelled the fear.

This is a good, old fashioned ghost story which was very well acted by Julian Forsythe and Christopher Naylor – I would highly recommend the show to anyone.

Sat in stalls seats C3 and C4 which were fine with sufficient leg room. Three rows from the front and to the side; only problem was that you are looking up so, if you suffer from neck problems as I do, probably best to sit a bit further back.

Sam Reid
London
Tuesday 23rd March 2010, 3pm performance.
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I saw this play as part of a theatre course and found it was very good. Well, the first act... I spent most of the second act with my face in my friends lap. I have a panic disorder and would not recommend it to anyone who has one or is easily set on edge.

The second act was sheer hell as the audience screams a lot, and this was very unhelpful. I wish could have appreciated this play fully as it was amazing for what I saw of it. Great to see with a large group of friends.
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Saw 'Woman in Black' today (12th July 2011), stalls C17, great seat! School groups very well behaved - it was a delight!
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Woman in Black: Monday 14th November 2011, 8pm performance.

I had previously seen this on tour in Blackpool and thought it a wonderful piece – and it didn’t disappoint on second viewing! The Fortune Theatre is a gorgeous little gem - tucked beside Drury Lane’s Theatre Royal – it is the tiniest place I’ve ever been too and as a result the production works well in such a small space. No fancy effects, no glamorous props, no fantastic set pieces – just simple and highly engaging storytelling that, unlike some of the bigger shows, expects the audience to fully engage their brain, mind and imagination into the evening. Scary enough – depending on how much you are prepared to buy into the evening…

I had seat A7 in the Dress Circle (normally £45 Mon-Thurs / £47.50 Fri-Sat) for £22.50 via an online ticket offer. The view from these seats is incredible – you are almost eyeballing the actors!! The bar that the monkey notes in his review really didn’t affect my view at all. Monkey is correct, however, about the legroom which is truly awful. Sat down, wedged my size 11’s between the seat and the wall and 5”11 frame into my chair and didn’t move! However, the seats have been recently refurbished so my bum and back were OK! BUT I would most definitely sit here to see it again – at half-price, of course ;-)

It is a great play in a little (little being the operative word) gem of a theatre. A masterclass of old-fashioned storytelling.

Paul.

The monkey advises checking performance times on your tickets and that performances are happening as scheduled, before travelling.

Tuesday to Saturday at 8pm
Tuesday and Thursday at 3pm and 8pm
Saturday at 4pm and 8pm
NO MONDAY PERFORMANCES.

Runs 1 hours 10 minutes approximately.

NOTE: Doors close 5 minutes before the advertised starting time at each performance.

 

 

Theatres use "dynamic pricing." Seat prices change according to demand for a particular performance. Prices below were compiled as booking originally opened. Current prices are advised at time of enquiry.

Tuesday to Thursday performances:
Stalls rows A to K: £55 except
Stalls row E and F seats 12 to 15, G and H seats 11 to 14 "premium seats": £72.50
Stalls seats B 15 and 16; E 1 and 2: £39.50
Stalls row L: £39.50

Dress Circle:
Rows A to G: £55 except:
"Premium Seats" row B 8 to 13: £72.50
Row B seat 1 and G seats 1 and 2 at £39.50

Upper Circle:
Rows B to F (except rows B to F seats 1 and 2): £29.50
Rows A and G, plus rows B to F seats 1 and 2 : £21.50
 

Boxes:
Boxes A and B "VIP Package" £54.50
Boxes C and D £21.50 per seat.

 

 

Friday and Saturday performances:
Stalls rows A to K: £57.50 except
Stalls row E and F seats 12 to 15, G and H seats 11 to 14 "premium seats": £72.50
Stalls seats B 15 and 16; E 1 and 2: £42.50
Stalls row L: £42.50

Dress Circle:
Rows A to D: £57.50 except:
"Premium Seats" row B 8 to 13: £72.50
Row B seat 1: £42.50
Rows E to G: £42.50

Upper Circle:
Rows B to F (except rows B to F seats 1 and 2): £32.50
Rows A and G, plus rows B to F seats 1 and 2 : £27.50

Boxes:
Boxes A and B "VIP Package" £57.50
Boxes C and D £27.50 per seat.
 

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