Stephen Mallatratt's stage adaptation of the ghostly The Woman in Black will mark its 5,000th performance tonight at the Fortune Theatre. Based on the 1970s book by Susan Hill, the production is now in its 12th year in London and ranks as one of the great West End successes of modern times.

The Woman in Black was originally staged at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough in 1987. It moved south to the Lyric Hammersmith two years later. But since opening in February 1989 at the West End's Strand Theatre, it has reached an audience of over two and a half million. Following its Strand run, the thriller moved to the Playhouse before coming to rest in June 1989 at the Fortune Theatre, its current location.

Frank Barrie (pictured) and Damien Matthews are currently starring, having previously taken the play on a UK tour. Barrie is known for his successful one-man show Macready, whilst Matthews has appeared in Chalk for BBC television and in A Small Family Business at Chichester Festival.

Hill's story concerns a keen young solicitor who is sent to wind up the affairs of a recently deceased woman. As he pieces the clues of her mysterious life together, he finds himself under the curse of a spooky spectre. Years later, he recounts the experience to a sceptical young actor in an attempt to exorcise his fears.

The West End show, and UK tours, both come under the direction of Robin Herford, with lighting by Kevin Sleep and design from Michael Holt.

- by Gareth Thompson