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The Woman in Black

3.91  ·  Rating Details  ·  204 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
The framework of this spine tingler is unusual: a lawyer hires an actor to tutor him in recounting to family and friends a story that has long troubled him concerning events that transpired when he attended the funeral of an elderly recluse. There he caught sight of the woman in black, the mere mention of whom terrifies the locals, for she is a specter who haunts the neigh ...more
Paperback, Acting Edition (a ghost play), 52 pages
Published November 30th 1989 by Samuel French Ltd, London (first published 1983)
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No, this is not a mistake. Yes, of course, The Woman in Black is a superb ghost story by Susan Hill. This is a review of the almost equally famous stage play, which Stephen Mallatratt has adapted from Susan Hill's novella. It is an adaptation which qualifies as a reworking, with startlingly effective staging. If, for you, a story of terror is not a story of the slasher variety, but one where the fear and suspense is built up in your own mind - your own imagination - you will enjoy this play just ...more
Jan 11, 2016 Jessica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't read plays but this come across brilliantly :) read it in one go couldn't put it down
Zander Cook
This book was terrible! I would never read this book ever again!! Scary story my butt!
Jul 04, 2014 Cassie rated it liked it
Recommends it for: ghost story enthusiast, aural readers
Recommended to Cassie by: Ben
Act I made me a little skeptical. I was a bit confused by the switching of the Actor/Kipps bit. I wasn't really impressed with the fact that the Actor wasn't really a good actor and had to be coached through a painful twenty minutes by Kipps in order to get the story rolling. But once we actually go through the weird "Isn't the magic of theatre extraordinary?" parts, I enjoyed the play. Having read the short story about a year ago, I still had it fairly fresh in my mind. It follows in pretty wel ...more
Sep 17, 2011 Sean rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, theatre
"The Woman in Black," adapted by Stephen Mallatratt from a novel by Susan Hill, is a dark and creative work of theater that utilizes language, setting, and technical elements to create a horror or Gothic play. The two man play takes place in a Victoria era theater and follows Arthur Kipps, a middle aged lawyer, who hires an Actor to perform a manuscript that will help Kipps come to terms with a traumatic event in his past. Young Kipps (played by the Actor) travels to a mysterious mansion on a ma ...more
Kristi Schoonover
Apr 13, 2012 Kristi Schoonover rated it it was amazing
With the recent release of the new film, The Woman in Black has been much talked about. The original Hill is certainly a classic, as it deserves to be. But it’s also a play, and if you love ghost stories and haven’t read it, this piece is certainly worth reading—and owning.

I spent many years in community theatre both as an actress and stagehand, so for me, reading plays isn’t difficult. Reading plays and feeling true emotion while doing it, however, sometimes can be—stage directions in the scrip
Jan 08, 2012 Kestrell rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This must be one of those "literary" attempts to deomonstrate that anyone can write genre fiction, but it completely fails to be spooky, or even vaguely suspenseful, and the characters aren't very interesting, either. The best part is the reading guide, where the first question suggests that the author is "playing with genre." Funny, I would think to play with genre the author would need to demonstrate some understanding or familiairity with the genre in which one claims to be writing, as in, if ...more
Apr 01, 2015 Lyric rated it really liked it
Shelves: producable
Spooky play. It would be fascinating to see it live. The writer has architected an interesting way to present the story to the audience. Without giving away any spoilers, let me just say that I believe this play has the power to truly terrify an audience if produced correctly. Skip the terrible film starring that Harry Potter guy and read this play instead. The story is a thousand times more chilling in the play.
Jamie Scott
Mar 30, 2016 Jamie Scott rated it really liked it
Is it cheating if I've only seen the show and not actually 'read' the script?
I suppose I can argue that it's kinda like an audiobook ... yeah ... an audiobook ...
Fantastic play. Spooky and amazing!
Jacqueline Coleman
Mar 20, 2014 Jacqueline Coleman rated it it was amazing
Shock ending to this play. Last line on the page made me lost for words. I refuse to watch the film until I have seen the stage show.
Matthew Keller
Feb 28, 2013 Matthew Keller rated it really liked it
Shelves: plays
I had to read this play for a Sound Design project in my college Sound Design class. One of the first things I noticed is that this play is a sound designer's dream, because of the usage of ambient noise and several spot cues. But the more I read into it, I found that it is more than that. The Woman in Black is chocked full of suspense that sucks you deeper and deeper into the story. And then, on top of that, it has a great twist ending, making this a perfect example of a ghost play.
Feb 18, 2013 Juliette rated it liked it
Shelves: theatre
This is an interesting two act play adaptation of the book of the same name. The play isn't like the recent film adaptation, which is a good thing, as the play makes more sense. The small cast of three actors provide a play within a play, and the sound effect & lighting cues provide most of the suspense. Doing the makeup for the woman in black would be really fun. She is to look as if her flesh is stretched across her gaunt face. Creepy!
This is the stage adaptation of the book by susan hill. Definitely see this play if you have a chance, the simple effects of sounds, lighting, and the appearance of the woman In black are so scary when seen on the stage. It Stays close to the original book which I love, with just one extra character added. . . The actor who helps aurthur tell his story and his own encounter with the woman In black.
Eric Kibler
Jul 07, 2012 Eric Kibler rated it liked it
An adaptation of Susan Hill's classic ghost story.

As a script, I'm giving it only three stars, because there's so much to be filled in. To succeed, it requires the hand of a skilled director, three actors, and a crack tech director.

I'm auditioning for it later this month, and I have confidence in the people involved (who I've wanted to work with for a while) to pull off the scares.
Feb 19, 2012 Mary rated it really liked it
A super-fast read of a ghost story, written in the style and tone of great classics like "turn of the screw" and "house of 7 gables". Good atmospheric descriptions (but no gore, wasn't any gore in classic stories like the Pit and the Pendulum, etc) although character development is a bit sparse. Will probably make a good movie version (if you like scary movies).
Ian Billingham
Jan 06, 2014 Ian Billingham rated it it was amazing
As someone already pointed out - very scary if staged correctly. The audience needs to have its imagination stimulated first.
I borrowed this at the library thinking it was the book that inspired the movie starring Daniel Radcliffe, but in fact it is the play adaptation of the novel that inspired the movie. Cool.
I must say it was really entertaining. It wasn't similar to the film, which I appreciate, and the end was shocking and surprising.
Feb 25, 2012 Nikki rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, horror, plays
After a quick glance at the play script, I have to say I think this might well be better than the book and the film. With effective acting and an audience willing to suspend their disbelief and participate in the illusions, it must be amazing. I can't say I'd like to go and see it -- I'm a wuss at heart.
Nov 01, 2013 Andrea rated it it was ok
This was pretty boring, to say the least. I found it hard to stay focused while reading this book, and I expected it to be much scarier. All around, this was a disappointment.
May 08, 2012 Julie rated it really liked it
I really liked was an easy read maybe a little predictable but enjoyable none the less. A few descriptive passages are memorable to me.shorter than i thought it would be!
Apr 20, 2012 Ting rated it really liked it
Wonderfully descriptive. I doubt that I will watch the game, there are some really scary jumpy moments in the book, I don't think I can handle it visually on the screen.
Louise Cochrane
Aug 14, 2012 Louise Cochrane rated it really liked it
This is a typical scary story, the likes of which would be told in a dark drawing room or around a camp fire, but I loved it!
Oct 10, 2011 Elizabeth rated it really liked it
Think it's much scarier to see it done right. A little hard to follow in the beginning.
Aug 17, 2010 Jennifer rated it it was ok
I was expecting much more from this book and was disapointed it ended so soon.
Sean Evans
The Woman in Black (Acting Edition) by Susan Hill (1989)
Tricia Bowen
Tricia Bowen rated it liked it
May 16, 2016
Maddie Mondeaux
Maddie Mondeaux marked it as to-read
May 13, 2016
Jolene Kuehn
Jolene Kuehn marked it as to-read
May 10, 2016
Priya Appleby
Priya Appleby rated it it was amazing
May 08, 2016
Gabe Stringer
Gabe Stringer rated it really liked it
May 07, 2016
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Stephen Mallatratt was an English playwright, actor, television screenwriter and a graduate of London’s Central School for Speech and Drama. He is best known for his television work on the ITV series Coronation Street, The Forsyte Saga (2002) and Island at War (2004), and for his stage adaptation of the novel The Woman in Black. He was also an actor, appearing in minor roles in Chariots of Fire an ...more
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