THE CRUCIBLE – University of Adelaide Theatre Guild

THE CRUCIBLE – University of Adelaide Theatre Guild

Reviewed by Richard Lane

August 2016

Director Geoff Brittain has cleverly crafted a  production of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible which  elicits accurately the mood and atmosphere  of the  Puritanical era of Salem in 1692. He has brought Miller’s allegory to its inevitable  denouement  from the girls’ dancing in the forest to John Proctor’s  hanging in the final scene, with great authority.
Brittain has re-created the   religious intolerance  of Salem at the time where many were  falsely accused and forced to confess their connection with witchcraft, or risk  punishment by  execution.
A multi-purpose set, simple in its practical effect, a lighting plot that accentuated  the  darkness, the  depravity of the court and a splendid ensemble cast, made this a chilling metaphor of America’s “Red Scare” of the 40’s & 50’s.
With a cast as large as this  it is not possible to name every one but,each performed well in this superior production. However Kim Clark’s performance as the protagonist John Proctor was simply stunning. We watched in horror as Proctor  slowly but inevitably hung the noose around his own neck to die as an honourable, “good” man. Cheryl Douglas (Elizabeth Proctor) was  marvellous  as  Proctor’s wife, as was Steve Marvanek (Governor Danforth). John R Sabine played the crafty  Giles Corey with great guile(and perfect timing) and Zoe Dibb played Abigail with enormous maliciousness and cunning.
Ben Todd (Rev John Hale), Zoe Muller (Mary Warren), David Haviland(Thomas Putnam),Deborah Walsh(Ann Putnam), Gabi Douglas (Betty Putnam) and Jean Walker ( Rebecca Nurse) all played their respective roles with distinction.
It must be noted that the girls who danced in the forest,  worked remarkably well as an ensemble. The screaming scene  in the courtroom when they pretended to be overtaken by spirits was quite frightening.
This was all- in- all a fine production reminding us of the effect that mass hysteria can have on a society.  
The girls.
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