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16th August 2017 - 19th August 2017
Malvern Theatres Young Company presents
Written by Arthur Miller
Directed by Nic Lloyd
Arthur Miller’s 1950s masterpiece plots the brutal self-destruction of a fragile Puritan community obsessed by fear.
It’s 1692 and a dark magic possesses Salem. A children’s game has terrifying consequences as accusations of witchcraft break out. The God-fearing citizens are on their guard and no one is beyond suspicion. As investigations reach their height, a young woman accuses Elizabeth, the blameless wife of John Proctor. False allegations are rife as the devout community is enveloped by a hysteria from which it can never return.
Malvern Theatres Young Company, under the direction of Nic Lloyd bring audiences startlingly close to the action of one of the most powerful plays of the twentieth century, which echoes the prejudices and narrow-mindedness of the 1950s McCarthy witch-hunts and bears the same relevance to the problems facing the world today.
This production of The Crucible follows the success of Malvern Theatres Young Company’s production of Thornton Wilder’s Our Town last summer. This year, we’re delighted to be able to offer tickets without making a charge for admission. Instead, there will be a collection after each performance in support of future Malvern Theatres projects. Presenting The Crucible with FREE ADMISSION enables everyone to experience both Arthur Miller’s masterpiece and also the high quality work of this talented young company of 13-25 year olds.
This amateur production is presented by arrangement with Josef Weinberger Ltd.
A flawless performance, with such amazing talented young actors and actresses. I would rate this performance an A*. Well done to all of you who performed.
Once again a mature, professional performance on display by Malvern Theatres Young Company last night. First time I've seen them in something other than a musical (which they do superbly by the way), but they succeeded in a convincing delivery of this heavy weight play.
Particularly impressive is Jacob Buckley who we've seen in various roles over the past few years. He has a strong stage presence and seems to be able to turn his hand to most roles. A star for the future one feels, I'll never forget his performance as the inn-keeper in Les Mis a few years back ... fantastic!
As they did last year, the Malvern Theatres Young Theatre Company is putting on two completely different shows this year, both on the main stage. The first of these, under the skilled directorship of the Theatre's Chief Executive Nic Lloyd, involves a cast of fifteen aged between just 14 and 23. And with just over two weeks rehearsal time, why not go for a show which is both long (just under three hours), challenging and deeply emotional? And so it is that Arthur Miller's The Crucible is the play being presented this week.
Written in the early 1950's, it portrays events in 17th Century Salem during the period of the witch hunt trials instigated by the Puritans, whilst reflecting what was going on in America at the time of writing with McCarthyism and reflects, to an extent, what is still happening even today.
There are some familiar faces in the team on stage from previous shows but this has also given six of them their first experience as part of the group. And if there is any play which will test their ability to stay focussed whilst delivering their lines, it is this one, for there is little on stage other than a few pieces of furniture and some lighting and sound effects.
Returning actors are Jacob Buckley, Ben Mowbray, John Clark, Daniel Davis, Rhys Harris-Clarke, Lexi Henry, Emily Henry and Bridie Jones, with the major role of John Proctor being given to Toby Burchell. This is by far the toughest role to pull off as it is key to the narrative with plenty of lines and is a character which you need to feel empathy for, given the situation that he finds himself in, though he himself has a past which determines what will happen to him when his indiscretion finally comes out into the open. Toby achieves this impressively as the young actor portrays Proctor's dilemma as a family man with a bit of a lecherous history but one who you do feel sorry for as his world falls apart, forced, as with others, into admitting a false and devastating lie. The cast work well together, in particular during the somewhat shocking scenes which have the children of the village screaming and shouting hysterically as they are supposedly invisibly attacked by the spirit of another, at which point Proctor proclaims "God is dead" - effectively the beginning of his end and sealing his fate.
Interestingly, the show is absolutely free to attend and this gives Jacob Buckley the opportunity to talk to the audience during the curtain call, suggesting that people might just like to make a donation which happily it seems they did. So do not make the mistake of thinking that because it is free, it will be anything other than an excellent, if taxing, night out watching some of our young actors getting to grips with a classic of modern literature. It does contain some adult themes (which is probably why the age range starts from 14 years rather than including the 8 year olds which also form the MTYC) and whilst some of the actors are on stage, they are simultaneously rehearsing for the group's musical show, Guys And Dolls, which is staged between August 29th and September 2nd. There's certainly no stopping them, especially as Ben Mowbray and Toby Burchell also have their own show - Nobbo - touring the area on weekends in September.
An actor's life is a hard one but an impressive one when they produce shows like this!
A wonderfully constructed ensemble cast of young people, who made this performance look extremly professional. Plaudits to the company as a whole with excellent performances from Toby Burchell as Proctor, Rhys Harris- Clarke as Parris, Charlotte Myreson