ARTHUR Miller’s drama – based on the Salem witch trials and a powerful depiction of suspicion, hysteria and political bullying – still grips in this production.

Director Peter Kelly has chosen to present the play in the round, which adds extra vividness to moments such as the trial scene when poor Mary Warren (Ellie Webber) is overcome by the deliberate hysteria of Abigail Williams (Laura Melville) and other hostile witnesses.

John Davis’ debut performance with Studio Theatre, as John Proctor, greatly assisted by the fine, sensitive acting of Emily Prince as Proctor’s wife Elizabeth, becomes really affecting as his character comes to recognise the terrible choices he has to make.

Also making noteworthy debuts are Penny Bunyan as Betty Parris, Monaya Abel as Tituba and Harvy Munnery as John Hale, while valuable contributions come from ‘veterans’ such as Ann Acton as Rebecca Nurse, Peter Mitchell as Giles Corey and, despite some over reliance on the prompt on this first night, Tim Greathead as Deputy Governor Danforth.