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I did! I was there on opening night. I didn't know what to expect as I'd never seen anything by the choreographer before. It was stunning. A memorable choreographic voice and the storytelling was almost always clear without need for a synopsis. I think it was the most genuinely frightening ballet I've ever seen onstage - chilling and shocking in parts. It only had three performances in Edinburgh but I hope to see it again soon. 

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I saw it on Monday and loved it. I've never posted thoughts on a performance here before (I generally use the forum in relation to my DD and DS) so please excuse my very non-expert opinions...

 

While the dancing was excellent and the set and lighting incredibly clever, I was most taken by how emotionally moving the whole thing was. I've seen a lot of ballet and never felt particularly 'moved' before, but the relationship between John and Abigail and then the extreme hurt of Elizabeth as she walked in on them was just portrayed so well. 

 

The uniform dancing of the church congregation in contrast to the wild frenzy and screams of the young girls was brilliant and the ending is just so well done. There is an emotionally charged pas de deux near the end (between John and Elizabeth) which I wanted to go on and on - and i think that was exactly the intention as you knew what was about to happen and that they had to be forced apart imminently. 

 

I would highly recommend it seeing it if you have the opportunity. 

 

 

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I saw a powerful production of the play at Storyhouse in Chester last year so knew I had to see this. Sadly my Fringe weekend didn’t coincide with the premiere performances in Edinburgh but I’ve managed to get a ticket for one of the Glasgow performances. After positive reports like these I can’t wait!

Edited by ChrisG
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3 hours ago, Waverley said:

I saw it on Monday and loved it. I've never posted thoughts on a performance here before (I generally use the forum in relation to my DD and DS) so please excuse my very non-expert opinions...

 

While the dancing was excellent and the set and lighting incredibly clever, I was most taken by how emotionally moving the whole thing was. I've seen a lot of ballet and never felt particularly 'moved' before, but the relationship between John and Abigail and then the extreme hurt of Elizabeth as she walked in on them was just portrayed so well. 

 

The uniform dancing of the church congregation in contrast to the wild frenzy and screams of the young girls was brilliant and the ending is just so well done. There is an emotionally charged pas de deux near the end (between John and Elizabeth) which I wanted to go on and on - and i think that was exactly the intention as you knew what was about to happen and that they had to be forced apart imminently. 

 

I would highly recommend it seeing it if you have the opportunity. 

 

 

Summed up so much better than I did at my desk at work, surreptitiously tapping into my phone! 

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Just got to see this at Theatre Royal, Glasgow having missed it by a week at the Edinburgh Festival.  Having seen several performances of the play in the production staged by Chester Storyhouse last year I was both excited at the prospect of seeing it in dance form and slightly apprehensive that it would not live up to my expectations.  However, I was most definitely not disappointed, feeling shivers at exactly the same points that I had during the play, most especially at the end of Act 1 as the girls begin their accusations, and at John and Elizabeth Proctor's final parting.  The dance characterisations throughout were completely believable, as with the lyrical movement give to John Proctor and his wife Elizabeth (Nicholas Shoesmith and Araminta Wraith) in their three main pas de deux, the barely controlled hysteria of the girls (especially Abigail Williams, played with appropriate malice by Constance Devernay), and the stylised, almost ritual movement given to the rest of the villagers (particularly Thomas Edwards as Reverend Parris) and the deputy governor Danforth (an excellent Christopher Harrison).  The contrast between the lyrical and the stylised in Helen Pickett's choreography was reminiscent of the way Winston and Julia's dancing stands out in Northern Ballet's 1984.  My one caveat would be that though for the most part it is possible to follow the plot without knowing the play, there were moments towards the end when I knew what was going on having seen the play but could sense that I might not have been in the majority!  I think this is partly because the end relies so much on Arthur Miller's words, particularly in John Proctor's final fateful decision as he tears up his confession 'because it is my name'.  Maybe a little more detail in the synopsis could have helped, but this is a minor gripe in what was a powerful production.  A final comment must go to Peter Salem's score.  I've seen comments on this forum about the lack of memorability of newly commissioned ballet scores.  Well, this score didn't have tunes that you could go away humming (I would have hated it if it had!), but its power blew me away and it felt completely in sync with the ballet.

Edited by ChrisG
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Agree with much of what ChrisG says.  I was in Glasgow for part of this past week for work and was privileged to see two performances (Wednesday and Thursday nights) of this fine dance interpretation of Miller's incendiary dramatic treatise, The Crucible.  Above a considerable all I thought the aptly named Peter Salem's score preeminent.  Much as Stravinksy did for/with Balanchine, Salem's music drove - nay, (or so it appeared to me) defined - Helen Pickett's (choreographer) and James Bonas' (Dramaturge/Artistic Collaborator) theatrical commitment through dance.  For the most part their heated travail in character building through the music's movement was vivid.  The community - and there is a vital sense of it here depicted - was rich in its conquest of the individuals embodied within.  That is a heady trick.  The debate about language - here dance - one so especially current just now in our national society - was in this fine tapestry always rife.  Indeed, it was palpable.  You could feel it pinch.  Since dance (well, ballet certainly) deals in (and I believe - when successful - enriches) extremity, i.e., those moments when words simply are not enough - this CRUCIBLE blared - veritably bubbled - even in deserved silences.  They too bellowed (but not I hasten to add through any enhanced speaker volume).  Here the effective conflation of several dramatic characters made the sweeping arch of climatic smolder even more substantial.  I was amazed how productively the overall oppression was stitched.  Finely detailed passions could fester as effectively as they could explode.  

 

I do agree with ChrisG that the end is a problem for those who do not have a fore-knowledge of the Miller.  We are left with the spectre of John Proctor alone in his own desperate thoughts prior to meeting his ultimate maker.  The scenario provided with the cast sheet simply reads:  'Jail.  As the day of reckoning dawns for the citizens of Salem, John Proctor faces a terrible choice, should he save his life or his name.'  Going down those luscious circular staircases in the incredibly well designed reimagining of the lovely Theatre Royal's outer case - and truly grand it is - I heard some rather wild scenarios being delivered to unsuspecting others as if they were indeed fact.  They weren't.  I wondered in my own mind how one might briefly suggest through movement Proctor's own struggle at that eleventh hour.  I thought perhaps you could borrow an idea from MacMillan and have a fleeting migration of others in his life in a (self-)accusing shadow play (much as had been effectively deployed earlier here in depicting child play which ultimately proved itself far from innocent in the dashing eyes of yet more others) while he, himself, struggles to find a voice to address such in his own mind.  Then perhaps the final flattening of that oppressive wall that hangs so often above - (yes, another one) - here with the constant of its fixed cross - might - just might - then - and I only suggest this as a possible potentiality - offer but a tad more clarity for some of those heading towards the theatre exit.  They have, I think, the music to accomplish such.  So much else in this happily stunning theatrical tour de force is glaringly lucid.  Certainly one thing all of these audience members shared - myself included - was a fervent admiration for the extraordinary work we had just witnessed.  It was glorious on both evenings to see the theatre so full and with so many young people in rapt attendance.  (How I wished this could have been the case, say, for Martson's Victoria at Sadler's Wells.  Certainly I felt there too it would have been deserved.)  There can be no question but that their gloriously earned engagement had been well rewarded.  

 

I felt the principal performances on the whole were more immaculately honed on the Thursday evening (the cast ChrisG saw), but that may well have only reflected the fact that so many there were the originators of their roles and certainly that it was the second time I was viewing the work itself.  Assuredly It was insightful to see those who had played major parts the evening before fulfilling more minor outings on Thursday with equal zeal.  I thought Bethany Kingsley-Garner and Araminta Wraith both brought richly detailed variety in the pulsating dignity with which they enriched Elizabeth Proctor.  This surely now will be seen as a key role for any British ballerina to undertake.  Her narrative is just so humanely prudent.  I thought too Nicholas Shoesmith made a fine fist of John Proctor.  How i would love to see such fine dance actors as James' Streeter and Hay have a chance to deliver that same.  Katlyn Addinson's Tituba was transcendent every bit as much as the very fine Christopher Harrison was harrowing as the damning Danforth.  For me Constance Devernay was the more effective of the two catalytic Abigails I saw given I felt she was the most believable as a 12 year old girl - never an easy ask at the best of times - especially when seen from the perspective of our own.  The Scottish Ballet Company, however, were - to a woman - illustriously resolute. 

 

This was/is a gift.  

 

 

 

Edited by Bruce Wall
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  • 3 weeks later...

I was at The Crucible in Edinburgh last night, and was very impressed. Choreography, music, costumes and set design all worked together to provide an emotional and memorable experience. I think I enjoyed the ballet more than the play!!

There was a brief Q and A session afterwards where, interestingly, an audience member declared themselves 'disappointed' that in the age of 'Me Too', Scottish Ballet/Helen Pickett had chosen to start the accusations with Tituba, the black slave, and left John Procter to be accused last, suggesting he was protected by his white, male privilege. I am not sure I want to see classics rewritten to suit current trends in  morality. What do forum members think about this thorny issue? 

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22 hours ago, BristolBillyBob said:

Hi all! Long time no post, sorry! How is everyone? 😃 

 

I'm off to see this tonight and am flying solo. If anyone else is in Edinburgh for it, do shout and we can say hello! I always like to meet fellow forumites!

We were there too but didn't see your post until we got back home.  Sorry to have missed you.  Did you enjoy the performance?  We certainly did!

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5 hours ago, Tessie said:

I was at The Crucible in Edinburgh last night, and was very impressed. Choreography, music, costumes and set design all worked together to provide an emotional and memorable experience. I think I enjoyed the ballet more than the play!!

There was a brief Q and A session afterwards where, interestingly, an audience member declared themselves 'disappointed' that in the age of 'Me Too', Scottish Ballet/Helen Pickett had chosen to start the accusations with Tituba, the black slave, and left John Procter to be accused last, suggesting he was protected by his white, male privilege. I am not sure I want to see classics rewritten to suit current trends in  morality. What do forum members think about this thorny issue? 

We have had discussions on this a few times, Tessie, for example when Bayadere was shown last year and any time that MacMillan's short ballets get shown.  Personally I think people have become way too sensitive and often take things too far.  Are we supposed to re-write history and literature just to avoid offending some people?  I never hear anyone complaining about all the murder and violence to which we are subjected on TV constantly.  The case that you quote above is just ridiculous.  Some people can find offence in anything if they try hard enough.  As they say, s*it happens, it always has, and pretending it doesn't/hasn't precludes us from making our own opinions about it if we aren't allowed to see how things were, or are. 

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