Conflict in Court, New Town Theatre, Review

Rating (out of 5)
Show info
EmeraldBLUE in association with LRStageworks
Liam Rudden (writer), Paul Murray (director)
Edward Cory (judge), Anne Kane Howie (Rhona Dalbeith), Philip Kingscott (Callum Paterson), Paul Murray (Mr Kennedy), Derek Douglas (Marcus Baillie MP), Kerry Hamilton-Nicoll (Shirley-Anne Knot), Greg Esplin (Kevin Jacobs).
Running time

This is a sequel to Silence in Court, the smash hit, sell out Fringe show since 2011. Liam Rudden has now written a new Court case about the topical issue surrounding the ethics of newspaper journalism.

The gripping setting for a Courtroom drama is the very stuff of theatre, and here, even more realistic when the audience is a major part of the cast.

Entering a rather Grand hall at the New Town Theatre, we choose whether to serve on the Jury or sit in the public gallery. I take my seat with the Jury, with a feeling of mild trepidation!.

Mr Kennedy, the Court Usher barks out the order: "All Rise", as Judge and QCs, in wigs and gowns take their places.

The outline of the civil case is explained: local Tory MP Marcus Baillie is prosecuting Shirley-Anne Knot, editor of the Daily Globe newspaper which published a report claiming that the MP spent a night in a hotel with a rent boy.

Rhona Dalbeith QC for the Prosecution, begins questioning Mr Baillie to learn the truth behind the libellous report. A married man with three children, he angrily refutes the story “it is ridiculous that I would be attracted to a gay man”. Dalbeith explains her client's life destroyed by the accusation.

As QC for the Defence, Callum Paterson cross-examines with details of the hotel cameras, recording that after dinner with Kevin Jacobs, they both shared the same bedroom.

Shirley-Ann Knot then takes the stand explaining that an Informant sent her a tip off having seen Baillie in a compromising situation with Jacobs. In summing up the case, Paterson is adamant the newspaper story is accurate while Dalbeith claims there is not a shred of evidence.

Now the Jury must decide. As this is the Fringe, we are motley bunch of people from across the world, reflecting all our own backgrounds, views and social values.

An American guy wants to know if prostitution is illegal in Scotland, (my goodness, he's taking his role very seriously in this fictional case!), followed by heated discussion and debate on the laws of libel and morality. Is this acceptable behaviour for a respected MP? Finally, we have to come to a decision on the truth behind the newspaper report.

As there is a new Jury each day, addressing different questions put to the Court, the verdict will change with each performance.

Characterisation of the Legal team is excellent, especially the cool and calculating QCs, (Anne Kane Howie and Callum Paterson) and Kerry Hamilton-Nicoll, poised, professional, her flowing hair a la Rebekah Brooks, is a very credible newspaper editor.

The clever interactive concept of Conflict in Court is essentially an hour of light hearted entertainment.

The production is directed with the right balance between legal formalities and sardonic humour by Paul Murray who also plays Mr Kennedy, the Usher. This is a meticulous portrayal, his voice of authority ensuring all the correct procedures in the Courtroom.

Show times:
31 July – 24 August @ 4.30pm.
Ticket prices: £10-£12 (£8-10)