Scottish Ballet’s adaptation of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible kicked off the Edinburgh International Festival programme last night with a bang, with the performance in The Edinburgh Playhouse. A narrative ballet, it was given its world premiere last night, as a highlight from Scottish Ballet’s 50th Anniversary programme.
A fabulously evocative rendition of the play, in dance, Scottish Ballet have outdone themselves with this emotional drama. Pioneering choreographer Helen Pickett indulges Arthur Miller’s play with stunning performance and the choreography to actually successfully add narrative to the ballet. And still obviously relevant in the era of #MeToo, this drama of suspicion and accusation is still somewhat loyal to the tale told by Miller.
In the God-fearing community of Salem, a childish game spins out of control, and the girls are found seemingly naked dancing in a pagan fashion. Dozens of villagers face charged of witchcraft, destructive to the community, from which it can never be redeemed. This 1953 play was written as an allegory for the heightened political repression and reckless accusations of McCarthyism that gripped the United States, but tonight it’s very much about the dance, which beguiles and torments, envelops and seduces the audience.
Abigail Williams, who is at the core of the play, the main antagonist, is found to be dancing and also fraternising with John Proctor, husband to Elizabeth Proctor, is performed wonderfully by Constance Devernay. Both the Proctor’s emotional performances are notable; Araminta Wraith and Nicholas Shoesmith excel themselves, as he attempts to salvage things after the truth comes out.
With a throbbing score by Peter Salem played live by the Scottish Ballet Orchestra, and the bewitching movement of the dancers, The Crucible addresses justice in a time of fear and hate. The costume by Emma Kingsbury is loyal to the era portrayed, and the set design (also by Emma) is something else, simple yet highly effective with it’s geometric shapes, at conveying the oppression of the times. However, it’s evidently the dances that are truly the star of this show.
Helen Pickett’s work is highly commendable with this portrayal, and for the remaining nights, I urge you to take a trip to Edinburgh’s Playhouse.
You can see The Crucible at The Edinburgh Playhouse from 3rd – 5th August at 19:30. For tickets, please visit https://www.eif.co.uk/whats-on/2019/crucible