ARTHUR Miller’s chilling tale of mass hysteria and persecution in 17th century Salem is an allegory to the wild accusations flying around during the post-Communist era.
As Reverend Parris’ (Robert Laird) daughter lies senseless in bed, Revered Hale (Hugh Blackwood) questions the spiteful and vicious Abigail Williams (Amy Harrison) how her friend had got in such a state.
Abigail accuses the slave Tituba of witchcraft who, terrified of being hanged and beaten, accuses Goody Osburn and Good which ignites a wildfire of fear and prejudice with the ‘children’, led by Abigail, accusing anyone who stands in their way of witchcraft.
Sullen anti-hero John Proctor (Mark Thompson), challenges the court and the validity of the children’s accusations but evil Deputy Governor Danforth (Dave Hill), who claims he would “hang ten thousand that dared to rise against the law,” seems hellbent on punishing anyone who comes before him.
The Crucible is a dark play which sends real chills up the spine when the young women, who they insist on calling children, emit terrible screams as they ‘see’ evil spirits attacking them.
The only thing that jarred with the carefully thought-out performances was the mish-mash of accents, from Scottish to Brummie to Barbadian, in what should have been an insular, isolated village dialect of Massachusetts in the 1600s.
But this intense and terrifying modern classic is a thrilling watch and still serves as a warning against allowing fear and prejudice to replace sense and humanity, Until March 3
Hannah Jennings Parry