Each of the play’s scenes climaxes in a powerful flourish of lights and sounds (sharply designed by Joseph P. Monaghan III and Ed Thrower, respectively). But for all of the bombastic fury that fuels its many grander discussions about “prodigious danger” and “pointy reckoning,” about “unnatural causes” and “obscene practices,” Ashley’s staging registers most profoundly on a personal level.
Actor’s Express’ “The Crucible” features Shelli Delgado (with Charles Green in background). CONTRIBUTED BY CHRISTOPHER BARTELSKI
Jonathan Horne (Georgia Ensemble's "The Elephant Man") delivers an impassioned, if eventually somewhat overwrought, performance in the central role of the conscientious but conflicted farmer John Proctor. Primarily known for her work in musicals and comedies, Shelli Delgado (Aurora's "Into the Woods") is startlingly persuasive as Abigail Williams, his scorned mistress and chief accuser. As his wife, Elizabeth, better still is the ever-estimable Courtney Patterson (the Alliance's "Disgraced"), whose scenes ache with a quiet desperation and painful honesty.
The rest of the large cast is variable, although Charles Green (as the dubious Rev. Parris), Tamil Periasamy (as the more reasoned Rev. Hale), Falashay Pearson (as the impressionable young Mary Warren) and Bryan Davis (as the pious Danforth) have their moments.
In the end, that “The Crucible” could be described as a “period piece” isn’t to say that it doesn’t also transcend time and place, to chilling effect.
Through Feb. 19. 8 p.m. Wednesdays-Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays. $21.60-$37.80. Actor's Express (at King Plow Arts Center), 887 W. Marietta St. N.W., Atlanta. 404-607-7469, www.actors-express.com.
Bottom line: As potent as ever.