REVIEW: THE CRUCIBLE (Queens Theatre Hornchurch) ★★★★

The Crucible Queens Theatre HornchurchArthur Miller’s play The Crucible is an atmospheric feast for the senses at the Queen’s Theatre in Hornchurch

Arthur Miller’s The Crucible tells the story of the late seventeenth century witch trials in Salem, during which more than two hundred women were accused (twenty of whom were executed) of evoking the Devil, resulting in a society brimming with fear and widespread public hysteria.

The theatre play is an atmospheric feast for the senses with a foreboding sense of danger present the moment you enter the space.

Douglas Rintoul’s direction is resplendent and thought provoking, displaying a firm grounding in Miller’s script. Such devices as projecting certain stage directions and character analysis’ above the actor’s whilst the action ensues below ensures that not one intention is missed. This theatrical tool teamed with Anouk Schiltz’s effective set makes for a very interesting watch. There is a modern feel about Schiltz’s simplistic theatre set; as well as coming apart as the drama progresses, stripping further back to its bare frame as fear and hatred fester amongst the once harmonious community, it also captures perfectly the pastoral country surrounding the now infamous New England town.

Eoin Slattery was simply perfect as ‘John Proctor’, a towering Hulk of strength that was slowly chipped away by the happenings of the piece. Lucy Keirl as the scapegoating ‘Abigail Williams’ was driven and powerful, presenting the role with ease and relish. Particular mention must also go to Jonathon Tafler as the formidable ‘Judge Danforth’.

What made this piece special was it’s remarkable relevance to today’s culture, with fear and panic resulting in a clear divide in a society. Arthur Miller’s words were as fresh and shiny as they were sixty years ago, which I feel is a credit to the production. A play about honour, passion and fear this is an extremely well thought out rendition of this compelling piece.

Reviewed by Jimmy Richards
Photo: Alessia Chinazzo

The Crucible plays at the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch until 11 March 2017