Saturday, 20 December 2014

Theatre Review: The Crucible

Earlier this week I went to see a cinema screening of Arthur Miller's The Crucible, a production on at The Old Vic earlier this year. I love going to these as I quite often find out about shows that were on ages ago that I didn't get to see, so these cinema screenings mean you don't have to miss out on things. A very chilling, gruelling piece with little comic relief, The Crucible is definitely one to steel yourself for.

Written in the 1950s, The Crucible tells the partially fictionalised story of the Salem witch trials that took place in America in the late 17th century. The play opens with a panicked Reverend Parris watching over his seriously ill daughter Betty, as it is assumed that her illness has come as a result of exposure to witchcraft. Several women throughout the play are accused of witchcraft by the rather psychotic 17-year-old Abigail Williams, including Elizabeth Proctor, the wife of Abigail's ex-lover John Proctor. This, of course, makes for a very tense atmosphere for both the characters and the audience.

My initial reaction was shock about how long it was. It runs at around three and a half hours, not including the ten minute interval, so it was quite a long time for me to sit still and pay attention! That said, I did find the majority of it really gripping. There is a really powerful, dialogue-free movement sequence at the beginning of the play, all amidst a lot of smoke which sets a suitably eerie tone for the rest of the play. Samantha Colley who plays Abigail is fantastic as she is believably manipulative and unhinged whilst accusing people of witchcraft. Natalie Gavin is also really strong as a servant to the Proctors who gets caught up in the accusations of witchcraft and is torn as to where her loyalties lie. Although she has a fairly small part, I thought Sarah Niles who plays Reverend Parris' slave Tituba was brilliant and really stood out for me.

I did find in parts of it there was a bit too much shouting and not a lot of variety in the levels of speech, if that makes sense. One of the main culprits for this is the play's selling point, Richard Armitage, who plays John Proctor. I wasn't 100% sold by his performance as it becomes a little monotonous and unconvincing. As for the filming of it, it's sometimes a bit too cinematic for me, with closeups and fading in and out. Some will disagree with me on this but when I watch cinema screenings of theatre performances, I like them to be as similar to seeing the real thing as possible, with no fancy special effects or filming.

Overall, I think it's really well-put together production that remains gripping and core-chilling throughout. Definitely worth a trip! It's on for a while longer I think in lots of different locations around the world if you fancy seeing it.

Have any of you seen it?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Literary London. All rights reserved. © Maira Gall.