2 July 2014

Posted by Anna Notaras | File under : , , , , ,
The Crucible is not about religious hysteria. It is not about the 17th century Salem witch hunt. It is about the human propensity to harm the others, to hunt the others, to pursue selfish goals ferociously, to manipulate anything they have in order to get that which they want. In this game of human cruelty, the innocents pay the highest price.

Official photo - Richard Armitage as John Proctor

London - the home of top quality dramatic performances. The home of internationally acclaimed actors, both on stage and on the silver screen. Ever since its previews opening on the 21st of June, The Crucible (by Arthur Miller) has made comments pour on social sites. By all means, this is due to the now huge name of Richard Armitage - star of The Hobbit. Once a Londoner, R.A. is finally back, to the delight of most of his admirers.

I witnessed his performance as John Proctor on June 25, yet it is only now that I am finally able to put my thoughts of it into a somewhat coherent review. With the press night set to July 3, The Crucible, directed by Yael Farber, is big with the social media. The play in previews has already raised a storm of reactions. As soon as the lights go dim and the haunting music begins, you are completely immersed in a strange, eerie atmosphere. It has a mystical feel to it, nonetheless. Soon, Armitage's well known and well loved voice resonates wonderfully through the theatre. If you are his fan, it is truly a surreal feeling. This John Proctor, however, soon delivers his lines in shattering roars. And, as a surprising and pleasant coincidence, many of these lines are similar to Thorin's (The Hobbit). John Proctor is righteous, brave, humble, outspoken, loving and protective towards his wife, who appears to have a hard time forgiving his adultery. Abigail Williams, the one who can't let go of him, trying to continue the illicit adventure, is frightening in her teenage infatuation and in the way she manipulates the entire community to believe her version of the story. The power of her lies will chill your blood. On the other hand, Elizabeth, Proctor's wife, is transformed in such a beautiful way - from a cold, troubled spouse into a soft, devoted, honourable and righteous woman. This all culminates at the end, in tear-drawing scenes of passion and despair.

We're in for a treat! The glamour of London manifests itself at the Old Vic
The value of the artistic production could not be any higher. Even the scene transitions are courtesy of the actors and they change the setting in such a fascinating, highly artistic manner. Impossible to describe! The light works are yet another remarkable aspect, praised in unanimity. I'm tempted to think no photo could ever do justice to that. At times, the light is only focused from aside onto the actor's feet - what a wonderful effect! Then, as John Proctors washes himself, he does so by the fire. Every detail is well though out and, of course, the Armitage effect is maximised with premeditation. They surely knew what they were doing, especially with that one scene.

Meeting the man himself (Richard Armitage)
At the end of it, one should have their lesson learned. At its very least, this play
should make one wonder why in the world would someone choose to die when they have a way to save their life (and here I have to urge you again to read The Dark Angel by Mika Waltari, there are very similar themes). It is a deep play with mind-blowing acting, a perfect atmosphere and a very moving tragedy. There is no way I would not recommend The Crucible and The Old Vic. At the end of each performance, fans had the chance to greet Mr Armitage and they always queued so orderly, in silence, manifesting their admiration in honourable and mature ways.

I will get back to see the play once again, as many have already done. So far, it looks like it has been something that amazed even the Old Vic staff, thanks to the crowd response. Well done, casting crew, director etc.!


  1. I loved seeing this show. Especially the second time, I went. I think I'll treasure the memories of my emotions at the Old Vic forever.

    1. There are such emotions to remember, Maria! I yet have to see it for a second time... Many people said it's even better! Also, I am curious to see the changes they've made, as I've seen it in previews.

  2. Miller and Shakespeare are the 2 greatest playwrights of all time.See also broken glass,incident at Vichy, All my Sons,After the Fall, and a view from the bridge. I also like The Price.

    1. Thank you! I will have to look into this, I'm not yet that familiar with Miller, although I studied some theatre and drama at the university. Strangely, it never included Miller.

  3. Dear Anna,

    Thank you kindly for the comment you left on my site about my review of The Crucible. I too enjoyed your own review and I love your photo with Richard Armitage. You both look great! As much as I would like to go and see it a second time, I can't really justify the expense or the extravagance. I do believe that I would have enjoyed it even more a second time and got much more out of it, but hey we don't always get what we want, right? Take care and thanks again for your very kind and encouraging words left on my site.

    1. Hello Mercedes! (did I remember your name right?)

      I am so positively surprised by your comment here! Thank you very much, You do have solid reasons to be grateful, having seen the play yourself. I can't help but think of all those deserving, loving and loyal fans who would have wanted to see this but never had a chance. We are very lucky and we should turn this into a blessing. I know you already have, as I read your impressions and the way The Crucible made you confront the realities of your own soul. Take care and keep on writing!