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Monday, 10 June 2019

REVIEW: Woman in Black at the Fortune Theatre

This week marks the 30th anniversary of Susan Hill’s thriller The Woman in Black on the West End. Adapted for the stage by Stephen Mallatratt, the novel was written in 1983 and has since been made into two films, as well as being a prominent part of schools’ education (it is often the studied material for English GCSE students). This has, as Producer Peter Wilson pointed out at the Gala night on Wednesday ‘lowered the average age of West End audiences… And probably the average ticket price also’. 

The Woman in Black is a gothic horror story; an actor persuades Mr Kipps to tell his ghost story from many years ago. Their recreation tells the tale of how the young Mr Kipps travels to a remote part of England in search of an old woman’s legal documents after her passing. On his arrival, the villagers seem to be keeping a secret from him and he discovers the ghostly tale of a vengeful woman who appears in creepy situations and inexplicably causes the death of children. It is a surprisingly amusing play and has been directed fantastically by Robin Hereford. It is completely admirable that the play has continued for so long without going stale and still has the ability to frighten audiences from all over the world. 

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Best shows to go to this Halloween

The Woman in Black 

One of the classic London thrillers, now in its 25th year and having been seen by over 7 million people this is a must see over the Halloween period. Susan Hill’s acclaimed ghost story is brought to dramatic life in Stephen Mallatratt’s ingenious stage adaptation. Robin Herford’s gripping production is a brilliantly successful study in atmosphere, illusion and controlled horror.

The Exorcist 

This new addition to the West End is sure to give you some chills down your spine. Considered the scariest movie of all time, the film adaptation of The Exorcist sparked unprecedented worldwide controversy when it was released in cinemas in 1973. Forty-five years after William Peter Blatty’s best-selling novel terrified an entire generation, The Exorcist is unleashed onto the West End stage for the very first time in a uniquely theatrical experience directed by award winning film and theatre Director Sean Mathias.


Saturday, 30 September 2017

REVIEW: The Woman in Black at The Fortune Theatre, London


To celebrate National Ghost Hunting Day, Raw PR invited a host of writers and bloggers to attend a special evening of ghostly fun at The Woman In Black at The Fortune Theatre in the heart of London’s West End. Seating only 432 people, it’s one of the smallest theatres in town, especially when you consider how dwarfed they are by their neighbour is the gargantuan Theatre Royal on Drury Lane which seats 2,196 people. The Fortune is a close and intimate theatre - perfect for a spooky evening of storytelling...

Learning of the tales of paranormal history within the theatre set the mood for the evening. We learned of hauntings and presences seen and felt in different areas of the theatre - onstage, back-stage and in the audience (beware if you ever sit in seat F17 of the Royal Circle in early November…!) The anticipation (and nerves) were amped up to eleven and then the show began.

Friday, 8 September 2017

INTERVIEW: James Byng, currently starring in The Woman in Black at the Fortune Theatre

James Byng is currently playing the Actor in the West End production of The Woman in Black, He was also most recently seen playing Toulouse-Lautrec in the Secret Cinema's production of Moulin Rouge! His other theatre credit include: Edgar Rychenkov in Noël (National Opera House, Ireland); Philip Pullman’s Grimm Tales (Bargehouse, South Bank); Nick Willow in Carrie’s War (Novel Productions UK Tour); Posner in The History Boys (West Yorkshire Playhouse/Theatre Royal Bath UK Tour); Frodo in The Lord of the Rings (Theatre Royal Drury Lane); Peter Pan: A Musical Adventure (West Yorkshire Playhouse); Les Misérables (Palace Theatre); Oliver! (London Palladium); Hey! Mr Producer(Lyceum); Oliver! (Theatre Royal Plymouth).

We chat to James after his opening night in his new role...

Is the love of music and theatre something which runs in the family?
Not particularly, though my sister and I starred together as kids in Les Misérables at the Palace Theatre in the 90s, and my brother is a talented musician, and I suppose my grandfather was a bit of a crooner - oh alright, scrap that, I suppose it does, yes.

Where did you train and how has this helped you build your career in the arts?
I didn’t. It hasn’t. I was lucky, I fell into acting at an early age and carried on!
I’m not quite sure what ‘building a career in the arts’ means these days really. It’s all too easy to feel as though one’s building something and then… bam! You’re flat on your backside again. It can happen to any actor, however prominent. It’s an extremely fickle industry and I’m very glad and grateful to be working!
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