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November 03, 1999

The Crucible

We asked John Farnworth for his thoughts on the recent production by Pirton Players. John was a founder member of the Players and lived in Pirton before moving to Bedford. As he really is a Judge we thought he was a good person to ask!

First Thought: How imaginative the change round the Village Hall, bringing action to the floor and closer to the audience.

Second Thought: How bold a choice – it’s an intensely involving play, wrapped in gathering hysteria with episodes of huge drama.

Third Thought: Could the Players do justice to these thoughts? The answer is a solid ‘yes’. Throughout what is a long play by modern (TV) standards, the cast’s commitment, obviously encouraged by positive direction, was abundantly evident.

The opening whispers of ‘witchcraft’; the first realisation of Abigail William’s forceful personality (a good performance this by Sonya Clark) and the apparently calming arrival by the Rev. Hale (Roger Blackburn) full of special knowledge, set the stage for the ensuing tragedy.

John Proctor, strongly played by Paul Kerswill, was the counter to the collective madness, soon to take his wife Elizabeth (Debbie Keating-Jungreuthmayer) an excellently played partner. The arrival of Deputy Governor Danforth (Michael Tackley) – demonstrating a sense of fairness but in reality the opposite – providing control and focus for the trial and prison scenes. This gave Abigail and her friends ample opportunity to demonstrate their capacity to influence events (excellent joint screaming!), whilst Mary Warren (Rosie Tackley) struggled to oppose them before again succumbing.

The entire cast gave good support to the principles, notable Tituba (Valmai Guess) and Giles Corey (Dudley Gentle). Praise also for the set design which enabled the action and words of the play to be clearly projected. Make-up, costumes, lighting & sound, programmes and all other supporting roles all helped to make a memorable evening.

“A truly memorable performance by The Pirton Players".
[Review by John Farnworth]

Director  -  Anton Jungreuthmayer
Producer  -  Bren Timson

Abigail Williams  -  Sonia Clarke
Betty Parris  -  Sarah Farr
Deputy Governor Danforth  -  Michael Tackley
Elizabeth Proctor  -  Debbie Keating
Ezekiel Cheever  -  Douglas Tackley
Francis Nurse  -  Richard Sexton
Giles Corey  -  Dudley Gentle
John Proctor  -  Paul Kerswill
Judge Hathorne  -  Peter Johnson
Marshall Herrick  -  Keiron Jones
Martha Corey  -  Jill Rogers
Mary Warren  -  Rosie Tackley
Mercy Lewis  -  Leanne Bradley
Mrs Ann Putnam  -  Maxine Shearer
Rebecca Nurse  -  Sue Kennedy
Reverend John Hale  -  Roger Blackburn
Reverend Samuel Parris  -  Tom Gammell
Sarah Good  -  Jill Rogers
Susanna Walcott  -  Helen Wallace
Thomas Putnam  -  Paul Ribbans
Tituba  -  Valmai Guess

Bar  -  Lorna Sexton
Bar  -  Neil Shearer
Box Office  -  Helen Smith
Box Office  -  Susie Welch
Composer  -  Duncan Sykes
Costume  -  Gena Edwards
Costume  -  Valmai Guess
Costume  -  Jill Rogers
Costume  -  Bren Timson
Director  -  Anton Jungreuthmayer
Front of House  -  Katy Guess
Front of House  -  Kate Gibbs
Front of House  -  Liz Gentle
Front of House  -  Liz Chapman
Front of House  -  Tessa Blackburn
Front of House  -  Kate Leafhead
Front of House  -  Laura Lloyd-Smith
Front of House  -  Jessica Lloyd-Smith
Lighting  -  Stephen Thorpe
Lighting  -  Chris Stimson
Lighting  -  Derek Webb
Make-up & Hair  -  Julia Thorpe
Make-up & Hair  -  Fran Manning
Make-up & Hair  -  Dawn Ribbans
Make-up & Hair  -  Jan Simmons
Make-up & Hair  -  Ann Webb
Make-up & Hair  -  Susie Welch
Producer  -  Bren Timson
Programme Design  -  Juliet Alexander
Prompt  -  Betty Turner
Props  -  Liz Gentle
Props  -  Fizz Gibbs
Props  -  Margaret Johnson
Publicity  -  Juliet Alexander
Refreshments  -  Pam Finbow
Repographics & Printing  -  Stuart Alexander
Repographics & Printing  -  Richard Farr
Set Construction  -  Liz Willis
Set Construction  -  Peter Tyler
Set Construction  -  Rex Timson
Set Construction  -  Dave Timson
Set Construction  -  Barrie Simmons
Set Construction  -  Neil Shearer
Set Construction  -  Keiron Jones
Set Construction  -  Peter Johnson
Set Construction  -  Dudley Gentle
Set Construction  -  Richard Farr
Set Construction  -  Julie Dawson
Set Construction  -  Graham Gibbs
Set Design  -  Anton Jungreuthmayer
Sound  -  Dave Wallace
Sound  -  Julie Dawson
Stage Crew  -  Richard Farr
Stage Crew  -  Brian Sommerville
Stage Manager  -  Graham Gibbs

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