The Crucible by Arthur Miller

The Crucible by Arthur Miller
Queensland Theatre Company. Playhouse QPAC, 26.10.09 – 14.11.09

This great American classic can be compelling, sometimes even confronting, theatre, especially when performed in modern dress.
Director Michael Gow cast it masterfully with nineteen superb actors to bring off the triumph of QTC’s 40th anniversary year. It deserves the full houses it is attracting.
Gow and designer Robert Kemp made an inspired decision to bring the action downstage to draw the audience into the frontier ethos of a town bounded by a forest and fundamentalist views.
So many superlative performances: where to start? I pay tribute first to the play’s ensemble that contributed to its ultimate success. That I mention specific actors may be attributed as much to the quality of Miller’s character development as to their undisputed talent.
Paul Bishop’s Reverend Parris displayed vulnerability as much as passion, especially when the dark side of the character was revealed. Francesca Savige oozed youth and emerging sexuality initially and disturbing evil in later scenes. Andrew Buchanan as John Proctor once again revealed his gift for engaging an audience and carrying their support to the bitter end.
Popular old-timer with over 50 years of performing behind him, Leo Wockner crafted Giles Corey with impeccable timing and inflection. Robert Coleby gave us a Danforth who conducted his court with flinty determination. Andrea Moor broke audience hearts with the strength and commitment she brought to Elizabeth Proctor’s character.
I am still spooked by memories of Melanie Bishop’s top-pitch scream and possessed-by-the-devil scene.
Both James Stewart (Reverend Hale) and Kathryn Marquet (Mary Warren) in very challenging roles displayed commitment and versatility.
Glittering talents illuminated this dark timeless parable, setting a very high bar for the 2010 season to emulate.
Jay McKee

Image: L-R Paul Bishop, Chris Betts, Paula Nazarski, James Stewart, Sue Dwyer and Leo Wockner


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