The Crucible review: Haunting production of an all time classic
- Credit: Alessia Chinazzo
As a major fan of musicals and spontaneous dance numbers, going to see a 1950s American play renowned for its intensity and angst was somewhat of an experience.
Nevertheless, as soon as the lights went down and the accusations of witchcraft began to be flung across the stage, my mind was transported back to 1692 in Salem, Massachusetts, although I physically remained gripped to my seat at the Queen’s Theatre.
Playwright Arthur Miller’s The Crucible tells the tale of the Salem witch trials where after being found dancing in the woods, several young girls claim to be afflicted by witchcraft.
But as their story spirals out of control, they begin to accuse more and more women in the town of belonging to the devil, often pointing fingers towards those who they or their families dislike.
Miller wrote the play in 1953 as an allegory for Senator Joe McCarthy’s witchhunt for alleged communists in the USA in the 1950s. The playwrite himself was accused.
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In Salem one of those charged was innocent Elizabeth Proctor, wife of farmer John Proctor who had an affair with leader of the witch hunt Abigail Williams.
Still besotted with John, Abigail is out to get rid of Elizabeth for good in order to fulfil her unrealistic fantasy of becoming his new wife.
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The presence of actor Eoin Slattery, who plays John, could be felt by the entire audience as his booming voice filled the room while accusing the young girls of fraud.
In my eyes, there is no doubt that Mr Slattery was the star of the show, accurately portraying a guilty man trying to redeem himself and his good name.
Former Coronation Street star Charlie Condou as Reverend Hale, Victoria Yeates in the role of Elizabeth Proctor, Lucy Keirl as Abigail Williams and Jonathan Tafler as Judge Danforth also all held their own in creating a spectacularly haunting adaptation of a classic.
The cast takes you back to a time long forgotten where witches were feared, an accusation was enough to prosecute and the truth was a matter of opinion.
The dark picture painted on stage is one that will stay with you a long time after the curtain has fallen.
The show is running until March 11. To buy tickets for The Crucible visit queens-theatre.co.uk