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Operation Crucible

From 94 member  reviews
Members say: Great acting, Absorbing, Intense, Intelligent, Great staging

About the show

After a successful run as part of 59E59's 2018 'Brits Off Broadway' series, this drama about four ordinary men who survive the Sheffield Blitz of World War II, returns Off Broadway. More…

"Operation Crucible" (code named by the Germans referring to its unique 18th century steelmaking) is based on the true story of the December 12, 1940 bombing of the Marples Hotel in the industrial city of Sheffield. It took only one German bomb to decimate the seven-story hotel into mere rubble. Unbelievably, four men survived the attack, only to be trapped in one of the hotel’s remaining and intact cellars. "Operation Crucible" is their story.

Member Reviews (94)


Great acting, Absorbing, Intense, Intelligent, Great staging
Avg Score

Intense, Resonant, Dizzying, Synchronized, Energetic

See it if Relationships among 4 steelworkers before, during, and after they are trapped. High speed choreographed movements and utterances.

Don't see it if You don’t enjoy theater that is part dance & performance art. You are looking for more than a relationship and survival story in wartime.

Absorbing, Riveting, Great acting, Compelling, Great directing

See it if you'd enjoy a gritty, compelling, evocative, sparsely staged 4-hander about surviving UK working class life & the Luftwaffe bombing of 1940.

Don't see it if you have no interest in WWII and/or Britain; you have an allergy to stage smoke/fog; you're looking for something lighthearted & undemanding

Absorbing, Intense, Intelligent

See it if Time passes for four Brit blokes trapped in a steelworks after a bomb strike. Nicely choreogrphed foundry. Ensemble works well together.

Don't see it if Blokes in a black box. Working-class accents. Monologues. Darkness. No props or set. Bomb strike hits midway through 75 min. running.

Absorbing, Intelligent, Beautifully crafted, Great direction, Great precision acting

See it if you're interested in survival in England during WW2 & life/friendship in a steel factory. Beautifully performed, choreographed and written.

Don't see it if small, dark spaces make you feel claustrophobic; you are looking for a feel good play or a musical. This is an intense, well acted play.

Absorbing, Great acting, Intense, Resonant, Intelligent

See it if You enjoy beautifully told stories about a moment in history that isn't discussed a great deal. Great acting and movement on a small stage

Don't see it if You have trouble with accents or plays that jump between moments and force you to keep up.

Great acting, Great staging, Intense, Masterful, Absorbing

See it if you want to see a superb ensemble in a taut drama about a WW II event in England

Don't see it if have trouble with British accents

Also I am glad this Brits Off Broadway hit is back for a well-deserved enco... Read more Read less

Disappointing, Intense, Entertaining

See it if You are familiar with a Sheffield accent. The 4 actors do a great job of entertaining but the story is hard to grasp

Don't see it if If you’re looking for something that is easy to follow.

Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Intelligent, Clever

See it if touching story of steel workers in an English town during WWII, their trauma when the town is bombed; high-energy as they act out their jobs

Don't see it if have trouble with British accents, don't want war stories, don't like minimalist staging with no props

Also There is a point in the play where it gets slow & dark & seemingly cla... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Absorbing, Great acting, Fast-paced, Great writing

See it if you’d enjoy a crisp, taut, sometimes funny drama about the fallout from a WWII airstrike and the lives of several steelworkers affected.

Don't see it if you have trouble understanding Sheffield accents.

Entertaining, Great acting, Intelligent, Heavy accents

See it if you like a story about the impacts of war as told by the common person (4 factory workers in this case). Amazing non-dance choreography.

Don't see it if Heavy accents, war-related, dark stage, flashes, etc affect you. Only downside was the actor's heavy accents, hard to understand sometimes.

Absorbing, Great acting, Great staging, Intelligent, Riveting

See it if You like intimate theater. The four excellent actors brought the audience into their world in Sheffield.

Don't see it if You need a splashy production. This was quiet and intense. Highly recommend.

Absorbing, Great acting, Great staging, Intense, Thought-provoking

See it if You enjoy British dialects. It's a wonderful aural treat. Have any interest in World War II era plays.

Don't see it if You dislike shows that narrate the action onstage. Don't like shows were you might have to listen a little harder than usual.

Also This play moves like a freight train, frenetic and powerful. It is wel... Read more Read less

Great staging, Riveting, Profound, Touching, Intense

See it if You like shows based on true events, and enjoy good writing, detailed choreography and terrific acting. I felt like I was there.

Don't see it if You can't tolerate heavy British accents, small theatres, or scenes done completely in the dark.

Great acting, Great writing, Resonant, Intense, Absorbing

See it if you’d enjoy a war survival story of 4 ordinary steelworkers in Sheffield, UK. Strong ensemble cast performs on an intimate stage.

Don't see it if you don’t enjoy war stories or will have trouble understanding heavy northern British accents.

Also Humorous at times but very moving stories of 4 men as individuals as w... Read more Read less

Great acting

See it if You want to see great acting and some very clever staging and storytelling.

Don't see it if You want an idea that sustains itself for an entire show - it does wear thin and falter at times.

Terse, Fluid, Engaging, Well-coordinated ensemble

See it if WWII, Britain, Steel-making, Brits Off-Broadway, Theatrical Collage, and Ensemble shows interest you.

Don't see it if you require a linear plot, single protagonists, and American accents.


See it if you enjoy World War II dramas.

Don't see it if you need a more nuanced and less predictable script...the writing is pretty strong despite being several steps ahead of it.

Absorbing, Great acting, Confusing, Intelligent, Great writing

See it if You are interested in a well-written, powerful, wartime slice of life drama.

Don't see it if You have trouble with thick accents or non-linear plot presentation.

Intense, Great staging

See it if intimate and kind of intense!

Don't see it if small play with big accents

Great acting, Great staging, Great writing, Profound

See it if you enjoy terrific acting and particularly like a ​drama about World War Two. An important play about bravery during The Blitz. Mesmerizing.

Don't see it if you have trouble understanding thick British accents and do not like being in complete darkness. Otherwise, no other reason not to see it.

Great acting, Must see, Absorbing

See it if You thrill to great performances by well-trained actors working together like an outstanding Chamber Orchestra. That this play, which has

Don't see it if You can’t make it before June 3rd when it closes.

Also been written by one of the actors and already been summarized by count... Read more Read less

Great acting, Riveting, Intense

See it if you want to enter the world of four people whose lives are probably very different from yours, and discover what you have in common.

Don't see it if loud noises upset you, or if you're claustrophobic or afraid of the dark.

Also The program includes a glossary of British terms that it's useful to r... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great acting, Great staging, Resonant

See it if Taut, compelling, and intense. Performances top notch. Choreography of steel processing work and claustrophobic set enhance overall effect.

Don't see it if Tiny theatre and minimal set really put you in there with the characters. Direction, sound, and lighting work together perfectly.

Also Sparse audience (including one irksome phone-checking woman) wasn’t wo... Read more Read less

Great acting, Great staging, Confusing, Ambitious, Edgy

See it if you like ensemble theater, you are okay with non-linear stories that are portraits of times and people rather than an action-packed plot

Don't see it if you can't handle non-linear stories, you prefer stories where characters have clear differences and lots of development

Absorbing, Great acting, Great staging, Intense, Great writing

See it if Great character development of four steelworkers and their relationship during WW II. Well written and acted with virtually no set.

Don't see it if You have problems understanding strong accents or trouble following plays with frequent flashbacks.

November 17th, 2018
“Knowles has molded and formed a fine piece of theater that shares with its audience not only this moment in time, but a doorway into the lives of the people who inhabited it. Delivered staccato, but melding together into musicality, the wonderfully crafted dialogue of the play reflects friendshi...
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November 14th, 2018
“The cast are superb individually and as a team. Their ensemble work is brilliant. Bryony Shanahan’s tight direction adds much to the production. The simple set and costumes by Sophia Simensky are apt. Seth Rook Williams’s low lighting is effective and Daniel Foxsmith’s sound design is appropriat...
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May 15th, 2018
for a previous production “Powerfully directed with a machine-tooled precision of its own by Shanahan, limits its point of view to that of four people...Captures so efficiently the dividing of war’s devastation. And it is all accomplished on a single simple set, with a cast of four and 80 minutes of stage time...Research ...
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May 15th, 2018
for a previous production “In this period of physical and spiritual darkness, the show's direction shines. Shanahan isn't afraid of murk any more than she is of silence...The ingenuity of the designers, director, and script is heightened by the cast. All convince as working-class Englishmen while remaining distinct person...
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