REVIEW: The Crucible UK Tour

5 March 2017

 The Crucible UK tour receives 4 star reviews and remains just as relevant as ever.

It’s always a good thing when a production of such a familiar play is able to bring something fresh to the table – or rather, the courthouse – and this one does not disappoint. The Reverend Parris (Cornelius Clarke) sounds like a certain current political leader in being far too hasty in wanting to bring virtually anyone and everyone to court, a marked contrast from the Reverend Hale (Charlie Condou), brought in by Parris to assist in the witch-hunt but ends up being the voice of reason in a most unjust set of trials. A scintillating and intense production, it retains, despite being set more than 300 years ago, a certain relevance today in its exploration of jumping to conclusions and certain people believing only what tickles their ears. Alternative facts, anyone? - **** Chris Omaweng, London Theatre 1

Famously written as an allegory for the McCarthy era witch hunts against perceived Communists in America, Arthur Miller's The Crucible now stands as a rallying cry against all kinds of hysteria in public life, disinformation and the spreading of false facts.Seeing it again in a week when the 45th President of the United States cited a terrorism event in Sweden that never happened the play could not be more prescient or timely. It is also magnificently timeless, too.Director Douglas Rintoul, in a new clear-headed, clean and unflashy production, doesn't underline those contemporary parallels (save for in his own programme note); he doesn't have to. The play simply speaks for itself, through the churning conviction of its playing. 

Anouk Schitlz's impressive three-sided steel frame, with wood panels surrounding a low onstage platform that endlessly reconfigures, contains the action effectively, while Rintoul's other innovation is to provide projected displays of some of the original stage directions to provide dramatic continuity. - **** Mark Shenton, The Stage

In Douglas Rintoul's gripping production, the escalating horror and disbelief at unfolding events is built with careful precision. It's punctuated with stage directions projected onto the set, a device which works not only to set the scene, but to give pin-sharp character summaries as key figures enter the action. Designer Anouk Schiltz's set uses the full height of the theatre to great effect, while Chris Davy's lighting is crucial in creating the sinister changes of mood that accompany the play's denunciations and betrayals. Sound designer Adrienne Quartly also contributes an uneasy undercurrent with her unsettling score.The Crucible remains just as relevant, and just as shocking today – just as Miller suspected it would. - **** Jane Cemp, Whats On Stage



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