Review: The Crucible

Selladoor Productions
Theatre Royal, Glasgow, 12-17 June 2017

[usr 3]

Arthur Miller’s The Crucible is known for its chilling analogy to McCarthyist practices during the Cold War, and since its premiere has become a tour de force in the canon of American drama. Selladoor Productions’ version attempts to forge its own path. In the present era where the play’s message holds particularly strong relevance, the show should not be very difficult to execute, and yet this production fails to capture the hysteria and mass paranoia that are essential to the play.

The crux of the issue seems to lie with Lucy Keirl who plays the main antagonist Abigail Williams and her failure to garner the audience’s sympathy for her character. Without any vulnerability or naivety, there is no justification for why John Proctor (Eoin Slattery) would even cheat on his wife Elizabeth (Victoria Yeates) with this hard-hearted figure, let alone why an entire legal court would believe her wild accusations. If this is the point that the play is trying to get across, then director Douglas Rintoul has let everyone down.

Thankfully, there are some genuinely heartbreaking moments, most strikingly Elizabeth bursting into tears when she thinks of her sons, after keeping a strong facade for the entirety second act. David Delve brings humour and energy as Giles Corey and Charlie Condou emanates the universal struggle for righteousness through his portrayal of Reverend Hale.