“The Crucible’s” Crucible is Tonight! July 3rd is Press Night for the Critics’ Reviews (***Update*** with the Telegraph Review Added), July 03, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #595)

If tonight while you are experiencing Arthur Miller’s The Crucible at The Old Vic in London, England, when you look around you in this legendary theatre and wonder who is the most powerful person in the room, you will have many suspects.

Is power situated in the intimidatingly tall actor fellow Richard Armitage brilliantly TheCrucible-RichardArmitageWallpaper-BecauseitismyName_Jul0214ThorinofEreborFB-sizedshouldering the burden of lead actor in portraying the tormented John Proctor (image right by Thorin of Erebor)? Is it in the young actress Samantha Colley who is making her stunning professional debut as Abigail Williams–Proctor’s nemesis and scorned former lover seeking revenge? Is it in the wife Elizabeth Proctor, poignantly portrayed by Anna Madeley, who must bear her humiliation at being betrayed by her husband John with Abigail? Is it any of the other wonderful ensemble cast and creatives, such as director Yael Farber or designer Soutra Gilmour and others? *whispering* No.

TheCrucible--RichardArmitage-asJohnProctorPoster_June1214OldVic-twitter_Jun1614ranet-sized200x319sidebarEver since Previews for The Crucible (image left) began June 21st the company has been waiting for this pivotal moment. Hell! Everything since they were cast and began rehearsals has been building to this moment. During Previews, the public has overwhelmingly praised their production of Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible” at The Old Vic.  But there were a few negative comments about the nearly 4 hour running time, the heat when the air conditioning wasn’t working, and the nearly 4 hour running time (even with a 20 minute interval midway through). People, get over the length of the play–bring a pillow for your back and don’t drink a lot of water before you go. Ha!

Tonight, the rhetorical power of theatre criticism will reside in a relatively few people as  The Crucible company waits to see what the British Theatre Critics reviews will say after the critics attend the Press Night performance on July 3rd–tonight! Might there be in attendance more than one critic of the stature and longevity of The Guardian’s Michael Billington? Theatre critics can often make or break a play’s reception by the public. And there are still some empty seats to be filled at The Crucible according to one theatre goer. A fuller house would convey to the critics that the public has a heightened and favorable interest.  It might not sway the critics, but it couldn’t hurt. Will the Critics find this production raw and emotional, full of gripping performances, the staging and ambience dynamic, and the production as a whole powerful and stunning? Let us hope so.

And let us also hope that no one gets any broken bones by the actors ramping up more–or even TheCrucible--ProctorManHandlingAbigail_Jul0214viaAgonistes-sized-blurconsistently performing–the dramatically violent scenes in The Crucible (right). And I am speaking as one whose college acting partner was a little too zealous in tripping me during a competition performance on a cramped stage–him unintentionally causing me to receive a severely sprained ankle. Though I somehow finished the acting scene and limped away leaning on him heavily. Ha!

While we Richard Armitage fans tensely await the reviews of The Crucible and the reviews of the performances of the exquisitely talented British actor Richard Armitage and the cast, here is another account (by lifesnogoodwithoutasmile) of experiencing The Crucible who gives raves reviews (link tweeted by Romina Oakenshield, Thanks!):



And pasted below are some recent glowing tweet comments by everyday theatre goers who have experienced this production of The Crucible:
Tweet-by-KellyDuck-reTheCrucible--TheshowisAbsolutelyFantasticJul0214 Tweet-by-GladyRoland-reTheCrucible--SoPowerfulandEnergeticJul0214

Tweet-by-MariaGrazia-and-Sinjoor-reTheCrucible--TheRealGentKindJul0214  Tweet-by-Siobhan-reTheCrucible--IncredibleAmazingJul0214

Tweet2-by-KellyDuck-reTheCrucible--TheshowisAbsolutelyFantasticJul0214 Tweet-by-MammaT-reTheCrucible--StunningPerformanceTonightJul0214

So fingers crossed and break a leg–not literally, Ha!–to the cast of The Crucible tonight!

P.S. And if you live in London and can spare 10 pounds for a ticket, think about heading to dTheOldVic-Theatre-in-the-round_2411-fitandcrop-1200x1200_Apr1514TheOldVic-crop-sizedthe theatre tonight to #PackTheCrucible at The Old Vic Theatre (image right) as a show of support for this wonderful production!



P.S. And if you aren’t at least a little bit interested in learning more about The Crucible production yet, then listen to Richard Armitage in a brief interview about why he was interested in portraying John Proctor in The Crucible:

P.S. Additionally:

Richard Armitage Central has some stunning audio excerpts from radio interviews. Here is the Crucible Director Yael Farber discussing the play at length:
http://richardarmitagecentral.co.uk/yael-farber-on-bbc-radio-4-today/ and a Richard Armitage as John Proctor and Anna Madeley as Elizabeth Proctor excerpt.

And we have some audio excerpts from the play:

http://richardarmitagecentral.co.uk/yael-farber-interview-on-bbc-radio-3/ and Armitage as Proctor excerpts, RAC link shared by Servetus (Thanks to Agonistes and The Anglophile Channel for pointing me to this link.)

*****UPDATE with a Press Night Review and a Fan Reaction July 3, 2014******

Many other bloggers and Richard Armitage resources sites will have the bulk of the reviews up tonight and tomorrow. But I wanted to share a review that I have seen so far, just to keep the information tidily together.

The wonderful kudos to The Crucible cast and creatives came from theatre critic Charles Spencer of the  Telegraph:

And here is a brief excerpt from Spencer’s Telegraph review of The Crucible:

“Richard Armitage, best known for TV dramas and The Hobbit movies, proves an exhilarating stage actor, with blazing eyes and a righteous fury about him, as well as manifest decency. His deep guilt about his brief affair with Abigail, who has become his nemesis, is powerfully caught. And his final reconciliation with his wife, beautifully played by Anna Madeley, who admits her own part in their troubles, proves extraordinarily intimate and moving.”

Thanks to Servetus for retweeting the link to the Telegraph’s post of the article!  My cap above of the article post is above.

And then Armitagina shared some great pictures of Richard Armitage signing autographs after the performance:

I capped Armitagina’s tweet pictures and color corrected for the street lighting a bit, but she did a fabulous job with these images.  And Richard Armitage looks coolly elegant!

Some tweets also indicated that Mr. Armitage’s Hobbit co-stars–Sir Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom, and others–were in attendance.   That’s wonderfully collegially and supportive of them.

I look forward to reading other bloggers’ takes on tonight’s Press Night performance of The Crucible.  And I will try to post their links in the comments below–or if they want to post their post links in a comment, that will be great!

***One More Update–The Crucible Press Night Party***

Dan Wooller has taken some impressive portraits at The Crucible Press Night party–none more so than this one:

TheCrucible--PressNightParty-ColleyandArmitageJul0314TCAppreconFBGrati’s take on the pairing of Richard Armitage and Samantha Colley in their pivotal The Crucible roles of John Proctor and Abigail Williams:

I think we can see why John Proctor strayed. Samantha Colley is stunning in that little brown leather number.  Not to mention Richard Armitage’s presence and handsomeness that would cause the young Abigail to stray and become obsessed with him.  They were perfectly cast for these roles!  As Charles Spencer said in his Telegraph review, their chemistry onstage is electric!

These two actors must be just beside themselves with giddy joy for the amazing play they are in–and the reception of their performances!

And I notice that Mr. Armitage’s hand is in its usual spot on his lady costars–right at her hip.  I joked on Twitter that ovaries are bursting all over the RA Fandom tonight in seeing Richard Armitage triumph in The Crucible and him looking so darn handsome doing it–or in my case, my ovaries rejuvenating.  Ha!

Here is Dan Wooller’s web site where the image above and 52 other stunning portraits of The Crucible cast and creatives at the Press Night After party may be found:

Thanks to Fernanda Matais for the image link above and to Richard Armitage Central for Mr. Wooller’s site link.

P.S.  Finally, here is a another RA fan named Wendy  who got to meet Richard Armitage after a previous performance and found him unfailingly warm and gracious:
Thanks to Servetus again for  retweeting Wendy, and that is how I saw her picture and comment.  My cap.


About Gratiana Lovelace

Gratiana Lovelace is my nom de plume for my creative writing and blogging. I write romantic stories in different sub genres. The stories just tumble out of me. My resurgence in creative writing occurred when I viewed the BBC miniseries of Elizabeth Gaskell's novel North & South in February 2010. The exquisitely talented British actor portraying the male lead John Thornton in North & South--Richard Crispin Armitage--became my unofficial muse. I have written over 50 script stories about love--some are fan fiction, but most are original stories--that I am just beginning to share with others on private writer sites, and here on my blog. And as you know, my blog here is also relatively new--since August 2011. But, I'm having fun and I hope you enjoy reading my blog essays and my stories. Cheers! Grati ;-> upd 12/18/11
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22 Responses to “The Crucible’s” Crucible is Tonight! July 3rd is Press Night for the Critics’ Reviews (***Update*** with the Telegraph Review Added), July 03, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #595)

  1. Carolyn Westfall Masini says:

    I would much prefer to see The Crucible again and again at 4 hours (with a 20 minute break) than having to sit through 2 hours and 45 minutes of Transformers: Age of Extinction, like I did when I took my son the other day. If the play is great, time does not matter.


    • Hi Carolyn, I agree. I will take illumination of the human condition–via The Crucible–over animated metal super heroes any day! Ha! Thanks for visiting and commenting! Cheers! Grati ;->


  2. July 3, 2014–TORN (The One Ring Net) posts about The Hobbit’s Thorin Oakenshield actor Richard Armitage in The Crucible:


  3. July 3, 2014–Thanks for liking this post!

    ania-zrysiowana ja and jazzbaby1


  4. July 03, 2014–New BBC Interview:
    RichardArmitage: Crucible is “a full body experience”
    “The Crucible, directed by Yael Farber, is the latest play to be presented in the round at the Old Vic.

    Armitage thinks it is the ideal setting. “What a gift. It’s a play about being witness to something incredible, about when society is in crisis and the horrific things people do to themselves.

    “Someone in the audience looks across the space and sees another audience member experiencing the same event.” ”

    Thanks to Perry at her Armitage Agonistes blog post for sharing the link above:


  5. July 03, 2014–The SpReAd the Love campaign’s challenge of 4 dozen Bouquets of Goodwill for Richard Armitage and The Crucible by today’s Press Night has been achieved! To read more about this latest RA Fan challenge, visit:



  6. July 03, 2014–The Armitage Effect (Thanks!) shares the thrilling experiences of Judit and Helen experiencing The Crucible and meeting Richard Armitage afterward at the Stage Door (several times!):



  7. July 3, 2014–In this The Crucible Press Night Party shot, I think we can see why John Proctor strayed. Samantha Colley is stunning in that little brown leather number.

    Not to mention Richard Armitage’s handsomeness that would cause the young Abigail Williams to stray and become obsessed with him.

    They were perfectly cast for these roles!

    And I notice that RA’s hand is in its usual spot on his lady costars–right at her hip, below her …. These two actors must be just beside themselves with giddy joy for the amazing play they are in–and the reception of their performances!

    Or as linked to this blog in case the picture will show (without you having to link to it):


  8. July 3, 2014–RAC tweeted Dan Wooller’s web link for all the pictures he took (just scroll through, there are 53 of them):



  9. Pingback: “The Crucible’s” Crucible is Tonight! July 3rd is Press Night for the Critics' Reviews (***Update*** with the Telegraph Review Added), July 03, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #595) | Tinseltown Times

  10. July 04, 2014–RANet shares an extensive list of links for the reviews of The Crucible, with it receiving rave reviews from many of them:



  11. July 04, 2014–SIlentinFlames shared the link to Richard Armitage’s United Agent’s page touting his rave reviews. And thanks to Servetus for the retweet which allowed me to see the link.



  12. July 4, 2014–Obscura at her Ancient Armitage blog shares a great visual representation of The Crucible Review roundup:



  13. July 04, 2014–A lilting ficlet by dear Judiang as a charming coda to the whirl of congratulations to Richard Armitage and cast for their triump with The Crucible–and a nod to the SpReAd the Love campaign of kindnesses leading up to Press Night:



  14. July 5, 2014–Thanks to Velvet (aka Morrighan’s Muse) at her “Love, Sex, and other Dirty Words” blog for providing the link to Peter Viney’s great review of The Crucible:

    An excerpt:

    “The accent of the Salem farmers and servants was Yorkshire-lite. …and in 1692 Massachusetts, I’d assume English regional accents were about standard … The accents all felt just right …”

    and “Richard Armitage, in the lead role as John Proctor, proved again that film stars (Thorin Oakenshield in The Hobbit trilogy) are stars for good reason. He was totally commanding in the role, and unlike the critics in the papers, I liked his voice. So did the audience judging by the acclaim on his final individual bows.”


    And here is Velvet’s blog post link leading us to Viney:



    • July 5, 2014–Oh and Velvet pointed out in a comment to me that Viney clearly countered the Daily Mail review of the length of The Crucible being too long.

      Here is what she alluded to. Quentin Letters of the Daily Mail wrote: “Yael Farber’s time-keeping has run out of control”.

      Whereas Viney in his review likens The Crucible to a Shakespearean experience: “While it runs to three and a half hours including the interval, the play is intrinsically “Shakespeare quality” as well as full Shakespeare length.”

      And I would say to anyone feeling that a 3.5 hour play is daunting physically for an audience member–even with a 20 minute interval–then think of how demanding it is upon the actors! So drink less fluids and take a pillow with you for your back.

      Arthur Miller’s The Crucible starring Richard Armitage, Samantha Colley, and Anna Madeley and directed by Yael Farber is must see theatre. And only my living in the US–4,000 miles away– and with other bills to pay prevents me from seeing it.


  15. July 5, 2014–Pasted below is an extension of my comment to Perry at her Armitage Agonistes blog for wonderfully giving light to the fans’ disagreeing with the tone and the quality of Quentin Lett’s review of The Crucible in the Daily Mail. Here is Perry’s post link:

    Grati’s Comment:
    I had read the Daily Mail’s The Crucible review’s comments you shared above (Thanks!) earlier today and the commenters quite tidily take reviewer Quentin Letts to task. And like other poorly written reviews, the commenters pointing to the failings of Mr. Lett’s review bear repeating–as you do so nicely above. Snap!

    IMHO, the Daily Mail review of The Crucible by Quentin Letts was woefully lacking in anything resembling a professional theatrical critique. The review was pure ad hominem mean spiritedness at its worst. A few examples of where I thought Mr. Letts missed the mark:

    1) Lett’s intimating that actor Richard Armitage in the pivotal role of John Proctor in The Crucible was merely Crucible eye candy and there to be gawked at? Absurd. Richard Armitage is a talented and seasoned professional actor whose career has been steadily building toward the pivotal role of John Proctor in The Crucible since Mr. Armitage had a breakout role as John Standring in Sparkhouse (2002)–and he won even greater acclaim portraying John Thornton in 2004’s North & South. In recent years, Mr. Armitage’s expansive television and burgeoning film career have expanded his exposure as being a well respected artist of his generation. To attempt to stereotype Mr. Armitage’s roles into anything but those of a serious dramatic actor is to seriously miss the point.

    2) Armitage sounded hoarse at times? Or was the reviewer hearing the character of John Proctor–losing his voice and losing his standing in the community as he is stripped of his humanity, and ultimately, of his life? Actors use their voices to convey their characters emotional states. And yes, the dynamic and galvanizing role of John Proctor will require much of Mr. Armitage’s finely tuned vocal instrument over the whole run of the play. As a seasoned actor, Mr. Armitage knows how to take care of his voice.

    3) And the reviewer railing against Director Farber for the 3.5 hour length of the play–petulantly wagging his finger at her not paying attention to her “timekeeping”–was singularly unhelpful, and quite beside the point. A play’s running time takes as long as it needs to complete the storytelling. If the reviewer truly thought scenes could be cut or altered, then identify them and justify why they should go. God forbid Mr. Letts ever had to review something much longer–such as the RSC’s Nicholas Nickelby in 1980 that ran 10 hours (see wiki), or any play by William Shakespeare’s, as Peter Viney alluded to in his insightful review (link shared by Velvet at Love, Sex, & Dirty Words blog, see the link in a comment above).

    One can only hope that with the myriad of well written and overwhelmingly positive reviews for The Crucible, Richard Armitage and cast, and Director Yael Farber and the creative team, that theatre goers will flock to see this production of The Crucible that will play through September 13th.


  16. July 6, 2014–Tall, dark, handsome, mysterious–and the star of The Old Vic Theatre’s The Crucible with his portrayal of John Proctor. Thanks to Armitage Agonistes, here is a link to a portrait of that man, Richard Armitage at the Press Night Party:



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