REVIEW: The Crucible with Ten Poems – Theatre Royal, Glasgow

In Ten Poems, Scottish Ballet kick off their autumn season to the sonorous tones of Richard Burton reading a selection of Dylan Thomas’ best-loved poetry. An unusual choice one might think, to choreograph to the spoken word rather than music, but the melodic cadence of Thomas’ words are perfectly matched to Christopher Bruce’s fluid choreography.

With no set to speak of, save some atmospheric lighting, the choreography really has to do all the talking: most effective among the ten short pieces are the sequences to: And Death Shall Have No Dominion where the dancers are silhouetted against the plain light-infused back wall and The Hunchback in the Park, whose character is perfectly captured by Jamiel Laurence.

Altogether an arresting and unexpectedly delightful start to the new season.

The second half of the programme comprises Helen Pickett’s interpretation of the Arthur Miler 1953 classic The Crucible. Truncated to approximately forty minutes it endeavours to capture the fire and the fury of Miller’s highly affecting work.

Whilst the choreography is impressive, emotive and inventive, the short running time means that it loses much in the storytelling. One can’t help wonder what those unfamiliar with the tale might make of it.

Highly enjoyable but less successful than it could have been as a full-length work.