One of Covent Garden’s smallest theatres, the Fortune is a tight, atmospheric arena that has, since 1989, played host to a suitably atmospheric production - the gripping Gothic tension of The Woman in Black.
Built in 1924, the Fortune has seen many a major name up in lights, including Dame Judi Dench, Dirk Bogarde and - in the ground-breaking Covent Garden run of the satirical revue Beyond The Fringe - Alan Bennett, Peter Cook, Dudley Moore and Jonathan Miller.
The venue was originally known as the Fortune Thriller Theatre - the thrills have continued long after the simplification of its name.
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CURRENT PRODUCTION: THE WOMAN IN BLACK
London theatre’s favourite ghost story, The Woman In Black centres on a keen young solicitor who is sent to wind up the affairs of a recently deceased woman, Mrs Alice Drablow.
Alone in the eerie, isolated Eel Marsh House, he is unaware of the tragedy lurking in the house’s dark corners, he only feels an unnerving sense of unease. When he catches a glimpse of a wasted young woman dressed completely in black, Kipps tries to discover more about her, but the locals turn silent and he must unearth her secret on his own. Years later, he recounts his experiences, desperate to exorcise the ghosts of the past.
An eerie thriller, The Woman In Black is based on Susan Hill's 1983 novel, adapted by Stephen Mallatratt but using much of Hill’s own description and dialogue. It features just two main cast members and minimal props to conjure its sense of rising fear and impending doom.
The stage adaptation of The Woman In Black was first presented at Scarborough’s Theatre-By-The-Sea in 1987, and proved such a success that it transferred to London’s Fortune Theatre two years later. It has been playing at the same venue ever since, making it one of London's longest running plays.
In a case of life imitating art, The Woman In Black and the Fortune Theatre are said to have their very own ghost. Following a break-in at the theatre, a grey lady, thought to be a spirit protecting the venue, was seen in the lower boxes.