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Who knew that something so unsettling could be so good?

By Kirsty Brown

Scottish Ballet have brought their original production of the much-loved Arthur Miller play The Crucible to Aberdeen audiences this week, and found themselves met with standing ovations thanks to their powerful performance of the tale of the historic Salem witch trials.

The mood was eerie, unsettling and somewhat uncomfortable...but in the best possible way.

This was largely thanks to a clever combination of music, lighting and movement which drew the audience into a silence such that you could've heard a feather make the softest landing on the theatre's carpets.

The dancers proved themselves with perfect muscle control that lead to beautiful movements against the live orchestra's music.

The Crucible is part of Scottish Ballet's 50th anniversary celebrations. Photograph © Jane Hobson.
The Crucible is part of Scottish Ballet's 50th anniversary celebrations. Photograph © Jane Hobson.

The soundtrack for the piece is surprisingly contemporary considering the historic nature of the piece but it worked incredibly well and steered the atmosphere in the room.

It can be difficult to imagine how a play can be transformed into a wordless ballet, however the company did a spectacular job of conveying Miller's storyline so that the audience were left in no doubt of what was going on.

The dancers encapsulated their characters with every fibre of their being and it was nigh on impossible to not be totally mesmerised by what was happening on stage - from their faces to their toes and everything in between was somehow fluid yet powerful, a sure sign of incredible devotion to the art.

When groups of characters moved in perfect unison was particularly unsettling, and I am in no doubt there may perhaps have been some real magic involved in this production.

This was the company's first major commission through their ambitious Five In Five project, and if this was anything to go by then it's definitely worth keeping an eye out for the rest of the performances in the coming years.

The Crucible is in Aberdeen until Saturday, October 5.

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