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Modern take on The Crucible to be performed at Queen’s Theatre

PUBLISHED: 12:00 21 January 2017

Charlie Condou and Victoria Yeates in The Crucible

Charlie Condou and Victoria Yeates in The Crucible

Alessia Chinazzo

You may not think a play written in the ‘50s about witch trials in the 17th century would have much in common with today’s audiences.

However, with the political hysteria over the past year due to issues such as Brexit and the US election leaving people divided, Arthur Miller’s The Crucible remains as significant today as it was 60 years ago.

A new version of the play, directed by Douglas Rintoul, will be heading to Queen’s Theatre, Billet Lane, Hornchurch, in February, and promises to be an exciting and modern take on the infamous tale.

Published in the 1950s, and inspired by the paranoia of McCarthyism in the US at the time, The Crucible is set in 1692 and focuses on the notorious Salem witch trials.

Charlie Condou, playing Rev Hale, has been re-familiarising himself with the story after first reading it at school. He believes many of the themes are still relevant.

“It’s one of those plays that most people study at school. I’ve been getting more familiar with it as I look into it now,” said the Unforgotten and Coronation Street actor.

“It’s interesting because it was written about the Salem witch trials but of course it was written about McCarthyism in the United States.

“It does resonate with modern-day audiences and looking at America with Trump and living in the era of post-truth, that’s the point of the play – that’s what I find interesting.

“One of the great things about the play is from the start the audience know its history. They know its young girls that have got into trouble and fabricated something. It’s post-truth.”

Victoria Yeates (Call the Midwife) plays Elizabeth Proctor – something which has been an ambition of hers for many years – and spoke of her excitement at returning to the stage.

“I’m so excited, it’s one of my favourite plays, I’ve always wanted to play Elizabeth Proctor and Douglas is an amazing director.

“I haven’t done a play for five years. I used to mainly just do back-to-back theatre and then I wanted to do more TV work.

“I’m kind of nervous about everything, it’s like riding a bike again – hopefully I’ll just slip back in and remember. I miss how collaborative it is, it’s really different. When you do a theatre you’re in a company.

“Also every night listening to that person and responding in a different way, it’s immediate and you’ve got this direct approach. It’s a real conversation with the audience and gives you immediate feedback.”

Both actors said they were excited about working with Douglas, whose production of Made in Dagenham proved wildly popular with audiences, and said people won’t be disappointed with his interpretation.

“Everybody is going to find something to connect to when they watch,” said Victoria. “It’s one of those shows everyone can come to and have exciting and interesting conversations afterwards.”

The Crucible runs from February 17 to March 11. Call 01708 443333 or visit queens-theatre.co.uk.

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