The Crucible
By Arthur Miller

Haymarket Theatre, Leicester
13 October 2000 to 11 November 2000

The Crucible Well I hope you got a chance to see this play. I was lucky enough to be able to visit Leicester and see this wonderful play. When writing this review I do have to try to bear in mind that I'm not a regular Theatre visitor so I have to try to decided whether my enjoyment of this play was totally down to the play itself or the novelty of me visiting a Theatre. I'm sure that it was the former rather than the latter. Throughout the performance I tried to be critical of the plot and the acting, but I found this very hard to do as both were excellent. The only criticism I thought of the play was that it was a bit too long, but maybe that was because I had a 4 hour drive home and work the next day. So maybe the 10.45 finish was a bit late for us not local to Leicester. But its worth the wait as the ending was brillant.

This play is set in the small village of Salem, Massachusetts in the late 17th Century. It powerfully demonstrates the fear and hysteria of the witch-hunts around this time. It starts with the Reverend Samuel Parris (Richard Willis) concerned that his daughter Betty has been struck down by witchcraft. Rebecca Hewett played Betty on the night I was there, she was excellent and wouldn't surprise me if she goes on to really making a name for herself. Her cousin Abigail Williams (Rebecca Callard) admits that they and some other village girls were dancing the woods the previous night. Worried about being punished for calling up evil spirits, the girls accuse other members of the community of being involved in witchcraft. Abigail is also in love with John Proctor (Paul Hamilton) and accuses his wife Elizabeth (Amita Dhiri) of being a witch. This leads to his trial in which he is being forced to denounce his wife, friends, neighbours and finally himself. Then he asks the searching question, should he lie to save himself or tell the truth and be hanged?

The Leicester Haymarket Theatre is very compact and you are very close to the action. This is the first play that I've been to where the lighting was artificial. The other play of Rebecca's I've been to was at an open air theatre. Anyway, the set design and lighting were good. I was especially impressed by the representation of the people being hanged by using life-sized straw figures. Acting was top class especially by Paul Hamilton, who during the play has to accuse Abigail of being a hoare. Surely good acting on his part. I mean Rebecca Callard…….a hoare……never!!!! Seriously though, he was good, as was David Leonard, the person who played the Court Cleric, and the acting and haunting beauty of Amita Dhiri makes her a strong candidate for a web page on this site. I'll try to find out more about her before adding her to the site.

I was astonished that there were still empty seats in the Theatre for such an excellent play. Well done to all concerned.

Finally a big thank you to Alison Garner for the email telling me about the play and that Rebecca was in it.

Reverend Samuel Parris Richard Willis
Betty Parris Verity Hatfied/
Rebecca Hewett
Tituba Nicola Blackman
Abigail Williams Rebecca Callard
Susanna Walcott Sara Bienvenu
Ann Puttman Tracy Sweetinburgh
Thomas Puttman Claude Close
Mercy Lewis Joanne Moseley
Mary Warren Glenna Morrison
John Proctor Paul Hamilton
Rebecca Nurse Vicky Ogden
Giles Corey Guy Nicholls
Reverend John Hale David Leonard
Elizabeth Proctor Amita Dhiri
Francis Nurse Rashid Karapiet
Ezekiel Cheever Guy Oliver-Watts
Marshal Herrick Mark Roper
Judge Hathorne Michael Loughnan
Deputy Governor Danforth John Branwell
Sarah Good Tracy Sweetinburgh
Martha Corey Vicky Ogden
Village Girls Alison Garner
Georgina Elsom
Nikki Burchnall
Lisa Hopkins
Rhiannon Jones
Sinead Wall
Leicia Feare
Carly Hook
Hayley Kowal
Hester Read

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