|The Crucible advertising|
Through the magnificent ensemble a few players did shine bright. Richard Armitage, who played the main protagonist John Proctor, was certainly one of them. Armitage is well-known in Britain for the work he has done on television and internationally in film. As someone who had known his work from these, I was excited at the prospect and opportunity to see his work on stage; he did not disappoint. From the moment Armitage walked on stage it seemed as though he literally carried the weight of the world on his shoulders; we later learn of the infidelity that does weigh him down. His Proctor is full of regret and continually seeks forgiveness from his wife while pushing away further temptation from the young Abigail Williams (played with plotting perfection by Samantha Colley), whom his wife sent away due to her suspicions. After becoming so familiar with an actor's work, I sometimes feel as if one character or performance leek into another. I asked myself, would Thorin Oakenshield or John Thornton seep through into John Proctor? The answer is a resounding no. Armitage's Proctor is spell-binding making this audience member (jury member we may argue given the way the Old Vic's Round theatre was organised) certain that despite his failings and mistake he was a good man.
With an amazing adaptation, a powerful ensemble cast, such as the thundering witch-hunting Judge Danforth, a powerful and frightful performance by actor Jack Ellis in addition to the minister-with-a-conscience Rev. John Hale, throughly brought to life by Adrian Schiller, it is no wonder that it has impressed all that have have been fortunate enough to view it. On a stage made you feel as if you were part of a jury, it left this juror realising how easy it is for one idea or claim to lead a group of people, a commuity, even a population to be steered in a particular direction, even if it is false.