Tuesday, 5 February 2008

The Crucible - What's Being Said.....

The cast of The Crucible. Image: Ian Tilton

I have gathered a few reviews so far from current production of The Crucible. First up a quote from a member of the audience:

The show was amazing. I was honestly blown away by it and have heartily recommended it to...well, anyone who will listen to me rave about it really!

There have also been reviews in The Bolton News (read it here), Manchester Evening News (see here), The Stage (here), Lancashire Evening Post (here), another at Reviewsgate (here), Manchester Confidential (here) and last, but by no means least, The Guardian.

We also got a nice review from The Metro (4 stars). I can never find their reviews online so I have included a transcript below. It appeared in the Metro Life section on Monday (yesterday) if you have a copy!

Having successfully staged other Arthur Miller classics A View From The Bridge and Death Of A Salesman, Octagon Artistic Director Mark Babych has now turned his head to The Crucible with stirring results.

Utilising an 18-strong cast, but fairly simple staging, Babych lets Miller's acute allegory of political witch-hunts speak for itself, trading smoke and mirrors trickery for powerful, measured performances.

First staged in 1953, at the height of senator Joseph McCarthy's anti-communist crusade, it ostensibly focuses on the 17th-century Salem witch-hunt, when the fabrications of a group of young girls, led to the death of 20 people. Miller, who was himself targeted by McCarthy, uses this set-up to explore questions of faith, community, the fallibility of our leaders and the importance of personal truth.

Though this is definitely an ensemble piece, there are several stand-out turns, including Catherine Kinsella's eerie performance as malevolent teen Abigail Williams, Mairead Conneely's superbly stoic Elizabeth Proctor, Sean O'Callaghan's snivelling Reverend Parris and the beautiful, brooding Chook Sibtain as flawed hero John Proctor.

Babych may be doing nothing new or particularly daring with this straightforward staging, but this classy production of a classic play has real contemporary resonance: its core message of loyalty to one's principles and peers is as relevant today as it was 50 years ago.


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