By Peter J Pullan
I was bowled over by the Young Vic’s amazing production of Arthur Miller’s ‘A View From The Bridge’ recently and this production of ‘The Crucible’ was completely different but simply thrilling. The Old Vic Theatre, which I love so much in its in-the-round configuration, was gloomily transformed with the gold paintwork covered by grey cloths and superb lighting and music to strike fear into our hearts. The performance is extraordinary, with wonderful performances by all the cast and made all the more exciting by the close proximity of actors and audience. At one moment, when Danforth, deputy governor of Massachusetts, who presides over the Salem witch trials, says to everyone ‘No one in this room is to speak one word’ you know that includes you.
There is fear in the play but also humour and great tenderness, with some wonderfully memorable quotes:
“Until an hour before the Devil fell, God thought him beautiful in Heaven.”
“I have given you my soul; leave me my name!”
“...an everlasting funeral marches round your heart.”
“...we are only what we always were, but naked now.”
“God damns our kind especially, and we will burn, we will burn together!”
“The pure in the heart need no lawyers.”
For a really thoughtful review (I actually caught it on a board outside the theatre during the interval) that completely echoed exactly my feelings about the play I can recommend you read the Daily Telegraph review by Charles Osborne:
I would urge anyone who has not booked to see this play to do so immediately. There is a second captioned performance on Tuesday 12 August at 7:30pm. When I booked at the box office the very helpful box office clerk knew exactly where I should sit in the stalls in order to see both captions and stage comfortably. The caption unit was centrally flown above the stage and the captioning was impeccable. So thanks to everyone for a most thrilling afternoon in the theatre.