Sunday, September 19

The Crucible

- April 26, 2017

Arthur Miller’s play is undoubtedly one of the great works of the 20th century, but to work it needs to be delivered by a sensational cast in the hands of a very good director. Douglas Rintoul has gathered a stunning cast and creative team to make an exemplary production that has the audience, many of them young, in awed silence throughout. The play is not easy, it is densely scripted, densely but beautifully, Miller does not use words with profligate abandon and his cast have been drilled to make every word that he penned earns its keep.

The setting is equally well crafted and lit and so too the soundscape that lends an eerie quality to the whole. The costumes are interestingly divided, the women in clothes that could be 17th century whilst the men clearly dressed in the era in which the play was written.

The parallels drawn by Miller between the witch hunts and McCarthyism seem equally and frighteningly relevant to modern times and the right-wing backlash currently rising around the world.

The company are brilliantly as one in a production that reminds us so well of why Miller is so respected, plenty of fine ensemble playing to be sure but also some excellent solo performances. Eoin Slattery is forceful and moving as John Proctor, Lucy Keirl scarily powerful as Elizabeth Proctor and the many female roles in the play are deftly handled by a small number of equally convincing actors taking multiple parts.  Cornelius Clarke’s driven portrayal of Reverend Parris is simply stunning, passionate, immovable and also fragile in his beliefs by the end. Charlie Condou’s Reverend Hale is equally well realise, passionate and sure to start but gradually fractured and damaged by what he sees and what he believes. It’s always great to see theatrical masterpieces done well and this production is done brilliantly, a play that should be seen by anyone who loves theatre and anyone who doubts the power of live theatre too.

25 April

Theatre Royal Brighton

Andrew Kay

5 stars

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