After a gruelling past GCSE drama experience of
An unexpected start, but also a promising one.
The church provided an eerie and disturbing setting for this production and worked as a great backdrop for the play’s religious elements; however, this meant a majority of the lines were lost in the acoustics of the room. The constant echoing of dialogue became frustrating after a while and if you’re unfamiliar with the script, you would struggle to follow each scene. At least the space enabled a diverse range of set choices, transforming the audience from house to courtroom without any complications or delays.
Lauren Varnfield’s characterisation of Elizabeth Proctor is commendable and engaging from beginning to end, completely carrying the performance; she is of a high calibre and this is obvious in all aspects of her performance. Brief but strong performances from Debbie Bridge and Gill Medway added substance to the subtext of the play and I was captivated by their characterisation in moments of their silence. As for the rest of the cast, I could barely keep track of the amount of times accents were dropped which was very distracting. This, coupled with some miscasting and wooden portrayal made a lot of actions look predetermined and stagey.
Be sure to leave enough time to get to Clermont Church as it’s rather tucked away near Preston Park and also keep in mind that it is two and a half hours long! Pretty Villain Productions took on a rather brave task with The Crucible; with some unique ideas, I have no doubt it would work with a different choice of cast. I would simply recommend it for its one stand out performer and for an audience who would like to experience a different interpretation of a period play.