Wednesday, 1 January 2014

'Twelve Angry Men' Garrick Theatre ****

One of Britain's leading produces Bill Kenwright has returned to the West End with Reginald Rose's 1964 theatre play, taken from the 1954 teleplay 'Twelve Angry Men' and it's a show that gets the brain working in leaps and bounds. The play is centred around an American jury of twelve men who were faced with the challenging task to decide whether a young boy, charged with the murder of his own father faces his ultimate nightmare, the death penalty or to be freed. The narrative is quite simplistic and questions whether, we the audience think the young boy is guilty or not guilty, but also to understand the reasons why each member of the jury has come up with their decisions. I thought that the concept of Juror 8 being the sole person who stands up and expresses his opinion that the defendant is not guilty for the crime he is accused of and attempts to obtain the other members of the jury on his side to allow the young boy to be cleared of all charges against him. I did become intrigued by the anger and frustration that the twelve men, all from a variety of different ages had with one another and this was captivating to see. The performances by the entire cast were acted with such elegance and allow you to understand the differences of class that are exuded through careful characterisation. I found Martin's Shaw's performance as Juror 8 to be one of such conviction of how we maintain uses vocal dialect throughout the whole production. The legendary Robert Vaughn portrays an outstanding Juror 9 with Nick Moran conveying a wonderful performance as Juror 7 and Jeff Fahey playing an acceptable standard of performance as Juror 3. Christopher Haydon's direction is brilliant as he directed play that definitely makes your brain think and clearly question is how you judge people on a regular basis either through appearances and such like. It definitely reflects on how Brecht made audiences think throughout the entire play. The design for 'Twelve Angry Men' has been crafted so intently by Michael Pavelka as he works quite consistently with the use of the trusses that holds the set lighting together. It seems a lot of careful work has been undertaken to work with not the most perfect of plays but a performance that is worth watching. I had a wonderful experience so I urge you to book tickets for the play that fights for justice. 

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