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Scottish Ballet's "The Crucible with Ten Poems"

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I drove up to Edinburgh last weekend to see Scottish Ballet's The Crucible with Ten Poems at the Festival Theatre. The Crucible is a new work created by Helen Pickett. Ten Poems was created by Christopher Bruce.   I enjoyed - perhaps it would be more accurate to say appreciated because neither work is a bundle of laughs - both pieces.


Ten Poems was danced first. The choreography was set not to music but to readings by Richard Burton of well known poems by Dylan Thomas. They included "Do not go gentle into that good night" which was danced by Chris Harrison and Andrew Peasgood. Having attended Rambert's Rooster at The Lowry the night before i had the best possible preparation for Ten Poems for the two pieces had a lot in common. The sets and costumes were designed by Marian Bruce, the same person who had designed the sets and costumes for Rooster. There was the same control and precision as in Rooster. But there were differences. Rooster was light hearted and exuberant. Ten Poems was quite dark.


The Crucible was even darker. It was based on the Miller play about the Salem witch trials in which 20 harmless settlers were executed for witchcraft. It was a chilling study of group think and mass hysteria which was written at the time that Senator McCarthy was persecuting some of the leading figures in the arts and public life in the USA for alleged and largely grounded or exaggerated sympathy with communism. The Salem witch hunt was sparked off by a manipulative teenager, Abigail Williams, who induced her friends and ultimately the whole colony of Massachusetts. There were strong performances by Sophie Martin who danced Abigail, Chris Harrison who was John Procter and Eve Mutso Goodie Procter. Tense and dramatic this ballet was in some ways more powerful than the play.


I am very fond of Scottish Ballet and have followed it for decades. I have recently become a Friend even though I can't set to Scotland very often.  It is very like Northern Ballet in size, the works it performs and its strong roots in the community. Indeed, the two companies are related through Laverne Meyer. The show started in Glasgow and has already visited Inverness as well as Edinburgh. Its next stop is Aberdeen. If any bods on this forum live in or near the granite city they could do worse than see this performance.

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Thanks for your thoughts, Terpsichore. I read one review in which the critic felt that The Crucible would have been better as a full length ballet. What do you think? I'm hoping that SB will bring this programme to Sadler's Wells in the future.

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aileen, I was very happy with the work as it was. It was a very intense work and another 40 minutes of a work of this intensity might have been too much for some folk.


i have expressed my thoughts on other aspects of the work in slightly more detail in my blog.


I also hope it comes to London for I would certainly like to see it again. I might add that there are lots of other ballets by this company which I would like to see again such as Darrell's Beauty and the Beast to Musgrave's score and Mods and Rockers.

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