Last night I went to see the production of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible at Birmingham’s Crescent Theatre. I remember (vaguely) studying this at GSCE a scary number of years ago and going to see the production with school, but my memories of it were hazy.
The Crucible tells the story of the conspiracy and mass-hysteria of the Salem witch trials of the 1690s. If you aren’t familiar with the story then please go and read or watch it immediately – it is as relevant socially now as it ever was, and will be, I’m sure. I had forgotten quite the scale of events, as one small act by two people spiralled into something far darker and shocking than you would ever expect.
The Crescent’s production was powerfully delivered. A strong cast, a simple non-distracting set, excellent use of lighting and visuals and an eerie vocal soundtrack were the perfect ingredients to bring Miller’s chilling tale to life. A theatre full of very loud, very chatty year 11’s went silent when the action began and stayed that way throughout – surely a testament to how gripping the play was.
I doubt I will forget the copycat girls repeating poor Mary Warren’s desperation as she supposedly sends her spirit out to attack them for a while. Nor will I forget the closing image of the play, which was a noose, simply framed, centre stage and lit with a spotlight. A well-delivered production, a great portrayal of Miller’s work, and highly recommended.