Twelve Angry Men, which was written in the 1950’s by Reginald Rose, has endured the decades because it is a masterful script. Stuck in a locked room, with only an adjacent wash room, the twelve men are on a jury and have to reach a unanimous decision as to whether a sixteen year old boy committed first degree murder by stabbing his father. If they find him guilty ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ he will be executed.
The jurors, who don’t have names, are listed from one to twelve and the play opens with eleven of them categorically stating he is guilty – one juror however, is not so sure. He is conscious of potentially sending an innocent man to his death.
Tom Conti, Juror 8, effectively portrays this reasoned individual who starts to minutely analyse the evidence which had been presented to them by the prosecution. As the play develops, the claustrophobic environment highlights the dynamics between the characters.
As in any group, there are some who are more strident than others and who are capable of creating an aggressive atmosphere. Andrew Lancel as Juror 3, was particularly adept in this role. Gradually though each individual voice is heard and the outcome is an unexpected volte face of the original vote.
The casting was good. Each character’s uniqueness was adroitly highlighted by the actor’s versatility and the overall production was quite enthralling. A poignant reminder of miscarriages of justice where innocent men are still languishing on death row in America convicted of crimes they didn’t commit.
Mon 23 to Sat 28 February 2015, 7.30pm (Wed & Sat mats 2.30pm)