Desire Under The Elms …and behind the scenes of The Crucible

Last week the Mr and I made a trip to the theatre. We spent a lot of time there when we were meeting up as  ‘just friends’

It’s something we share a mutual love of. I think we are both frustrated performers and he’s definitely a show off. It’s escapism for an hour or so . It’s also the place where I realised I liked him as more than just a friend.

You may all say arrhhhhh …

We were invited to attend the press night of Eugene O’Neills play ‘Desire Under The Elms’ which is on at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield until October 14th, 2017.

You may or may not have heard of Eugene O’Neil . I’ll not pretend I’m educated. I hadn’t. I have since read a bit about him and his life. This reads like a Greek tragedy itself.

O’Neill was born in 1888 to an alcoholic father and a mother who after child-birth became addicted to morphine. At 22 he attempted suicide. He didn’t succeed but soon after was diagnosed with tuberculosis. It was during this time he committed himself to play-writing. In 1920 his father fell ill and died of cancer, followed closely by his mother. His brother drank himself to death aged just 45.

Chuffing hell …It’s no wonder that death and grief play such a large part in his work.

Desire Under Sun

What made it slightly more interesting for me was I had attended the theatre the previous week.

Along with a couple of other bloggers [Jess and Amy] we took a ‘behind the scenes’ tour of the Crucible. I couldn’t quite get my head around just how big it actually is. Who would have thought ?! Lots of corridors, pipework and art.

Desire Under sun

The tour included the wardrobe department ! *Queue little happy dance*

OMG you know how much I love clothes , especially vintage. I was in ‘clobber heaven’

Whatever your heart desired it was there. Never mind Desire Under The Elms, this was Desire Under the Stage !

I spotted a few amazing 70’s style maxi dresses that I wanted to slip into my bag. I didn’t of course!

Desire Under Sun


We met the Designer Chiara Stephenson, Director Sam Yates and a couple of the actors – Theo Ogundipe [Peter] and Sule Rimi [Simeon ]

These two had so much energy they could brighten and lift any room. 

Above in ‘real’ life and below in character as brothers Peter and Simeon

We also [ much to my absolute delight] got to meet Matthew Kelly.

Pinch me now… what can I say he’s one person I’ve always wanted to meet. Along with Cilla Black he feels like cosy family nights in and happy times. I’m  so happy to report he is as lovely as I’d expected , if not more so.

We also got the privilege to sit in the ‘technical’ rehearsals for half an hour. Spending time watching this you can really appreciate how much hard work and precision goes into producing a play of this scale.

So back to the show itself . . .

It’s a dark, tragic, slightly disturbing tale of betrayal and lust. I don’t want to give too much away but basically Ephraim [ Matthew Kelly] brings home to his farm a new much younger bride Abbie  [ Aoufe Duffin] who embarks on an affair with Ephraim’s step son Eben [Micheal Shea]

If you’re hoping for sunshine and flowers then perhaps this isn’t the production for you.

The set is amazing, cornfields line the far perimeter. There’s a fully functional water pump, rocks a plenty and a stage layered in mud. Again it’s dark, dirty and deprived. Lighting comes mainly in the form of beautiful candlelight and there’s an overall haunted feeling to the whole shebang.

What makes it work perfectly for me is the fact it’s such a close set. Wherever your seated your not far from the action; you feel part of it. I actually left the theatre feeling a little mucky from all the dust.

The sky will hopefully fascinate you as much as it did me as it changes colour to represent the mood and sets the temperament for the scene.

The acting is fabulous from all the actors but especially the lead three. I have to admit I found  the dialogue took some getting used too. It’s kind of Irish meets oldie world American , meets Shakespeare.

[All Photos below -all courtesy of the Crucible Theatre ]

Desire Under sun


Matthew Kelly brings some light relief and humour with his character and I recall a couple of scenes where I laughed out loud. [I’m not sure if we were meant too but we did] These however were few and far between.

All in all if you like your dramas dark and enjoy some excellent acting then you need to go and see this.

Like I said it’s not pink, fluffy , hands in the air and boogie in your seat like our Jamie was. It’s depressed  , it’s tragic and isn’t that just why we love the theatre?

The variety.

It is after all the spice of life.

Tracey x

Tickets are available from The Box office Tel : 0114 249 6000 / Sheffieldtheatres.co.uk

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