THEATRE BA reviews The Crucible at the Crucible Theatre Sheffield REVIEWS

The Crucible

Crucible Theatre

Fighting Madness

Anna Mackmin created a tense and compelling adaptation of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, which had the audience enthralled throughout.

Set during the Salem witch trials in 1692, members of the community were suspected of being in contact with the devil. When accused, they either confessed or faced the gallows as they were tried by a system of government in which priests rule in the name of god, causing a blinkered conclusion.

The Crucible theatre is a fantastic setting and the achromatic set designed by Lez Brotherston was very striking, reflecting the depressive tones and also a deeper comparison to communism. The play opens in Paris’s bedroom where the white set takes on a church like presence as the idea of witchcraft is first suggested.

The strength of the main characters, John Proctor played by Douglas Henshaw and Elizabeth Proctor played by Amelia Bullmore, was apparent to all, but the other cast members were by no means peripheral. Abigail Williams, portrayed by Sinead Matthews, instilled an impression of deviousness and deceit right from the outset. As this was her debut theatrical performance we are sure great things can be expected from this actress in the future.

In a bold move Mackmin resisted the temptation to make the actors use American accents, instead allowing the strength of Miller’s words alone to set the scene. At various points in the play the intensity of a scene was magnified by an increase in volume of the actor’s voice, although at times this had a tendency to muffle speech, hindering the interpretation of dialogue.

The end of the performance was met with a resounding, well deserved round of applause and left one feeling saddened, thoughtful and in some cases very tearful. © SG

“The Crucible ” is at the Crucible Sheffield from the 4th to the 28th of February, 2004.

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