Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Review Roundup: THE CRUCIBLE, Starring Erin Doherty

What did the critics think of Lyndsey Turner's new adaptation?

Review Roundup: THE CRUCIBLE, Starring Erin Doherty

A witch hunt is beginning in Salem. As a climate of fear spreads through the community, private vendettas fuel public accusations and soon the truth itself is on trial. 

Arthur Miller's gripping parable of power and its abuse returns in a new staging by director Lyndsey Turner at The National Theatre, starring Erin Doherty. So what did the critics think?


Cindy Marcolina: BroadwayWorld: Almost seven decades after its premiere, The Crucible remains a classic, and this production is brimming with thought-provoking commentary. In a society riddled with fake news, that bends over backwards to regulate a woman's body, justifying its laws with a magical book, The Crucible is frighteningly relevant. Turner's symbolism and exquisite abstraction make this an excellent, faithful transposition of the original material. Plus, it looks simply stunning.

Arifa Akbar: The Guardian: Erin Doherty, as Abigail, is full of urgent energy but her fearful anger seems overplayed and her character stays oddly flat: even her tender, pained private conversation with John Proctor in which she begs him to rekindle their passion, ends up sounding like an angry child's strop without the accompanying vulnerability. Brendan Cowell, as Proctor, is a rough, gruff farmer whose core of earnestness is revealed gradually.

Theo Bosanquet: WhatsOnStage: Erin Doherty makes a welcome return to the stage, having achieved stardom playing Princess Anne in The Crown, with an interpretation of Abigail, Proctor's vengeful former lover, that is skittish, frenzied and deeply malevolent. She channels the energy of a desperate fangirl, who will stop at nothing in pursuit of her idol. When she and the other girls perform their wild hallucinations, it feels genuinely frightening. One comes close to sympathising with the judges.

Nick Curtis: Evening Standard: It's presented on a stylised set by Es Devlin, a sloped platform, mirrored by an ominous slab of light above, hemmed on three sides by sporadic curtains of rain and echoing with religious chant. Instead of the usual puritan garb, the women in this American colony wear Laura Ashley-esque frocks, the men blue and khaki workwear that wouldn't look out of place in a Shoreditch maker's market today.

Clive Davis: The Times: The performances all round are more variable, and some of the directorial choices become a distraction. What, for instance, are we to make of the wall of rain that the designer Es Devlin has fall over the Olivier stage between scenes? An imposing biblical torrent, true, but I was troubled by the more down-to-earth thought of how the actors were going to keep their balance on the damp stage. And why are Brendan Cowell's earthy John Proctor and other yeoman farmers dressed in khaki and blue as if they were refugees from The Grapes of Wrath?

The Crucible is at The National Theatre until 5 November

Photo Credit: Johan Persson




From This Author - Aliya Al-Hassan

Aliya Al-Hassan is UK Managing Editor of BroadwayWorld. A London-based theatre critic and journalist, she has a life-long passion for the arts, with a focus on theatre and opera. She is a... (read more about this author)


Interview: Neil Bartlett on the Writing Process, Gender Identity and Adapting ORLANDO for the StageInterview: Neil Bartlett on the Writing Process, Gender Identity and Adapting ORLANDO for the Stage
November 25, 2022

Adapted by Neil Bartlett, starring Golden Globe winner Emma Corrin and directed by Tony and Olivier winner Michael Grandage, the early-awaited stage version of Orlando is about to start previews. BroadwayWorld caught up with Neil ahead of opening night on 5 December to talk about the writing process, gender identity and the magic of language.

Guildhall School of Music & Drama Announces Spring 2023 Events
November 25, 2022

This spring, Guildhall School of Music & Drama presents a varied programme of events for the public to enjoy, including concerts, drama productions, opera and jazz.

Black Friday: Save up to 38% on THE WIFE OF WILLESDENBlack Friday: Save up to 38% on THE WIFE OF WILLESDEN
November 25, 2022

Save up to 38% on The Wife Of Willesden. After a sold-out, critically acclaimed run in 2021, Alvita, The Wife of Willesden returns for one more round at the bar. 

THE MOUSETRAP Will Open on Broadway in 2023THE MOUSETRAP Will Open on Broadway in 2023
November 25, 2022

Agatha Christie’s iconic thriller, The Mousetrap, the longest running play in the world, marks its 70th anniversary today (25 November) by announcing that the show will make its Broadway premiere next year.

Photos: First Look at MOTHER GOOSE at Hackney EmpirePhotos: First Look at MOTHER GOOSE at Hackney Empire
November 24, 2022

Hackney Empire has released production images for its 23rd Christmas pantomime Mother Goose which began previews on 19 November. The production runs until 31 December with press night on 1 December.