Review: Twelve Angry Men – Milton Keynes Theatre
Twelve Angry Men - REVIEW

A punchy production that continually questions if the truth will out.

Set in a sultry city courtroom, the scales of justice are swaying in the jurors room.

Reginald Rose’s stage and screen crime thriller takes us to the 1950’s where a twelve man jury holds the fate of the young accused in their hands.  The decision must be unanimous, any reasonable doubt and a Not Guilty verdict must be returned. Guilty, and death by electric chair awaits.

All jurors are referred to by their numbers throughout remaining nameless, adding to the dramatic unveiling of their personas. Juror 8 is played magnificently by Jason Merrells in this performance, showing great presence – both on stage and of mind – as he debates and argues the elements that lead to deliberation and doubts. Juror 3, played by Tristan Gemmill, holds the audience horribly captive with his antagonism, anger and volatility. All the cast however hold their own as accomplished actors and portray their characters sublimely.

As reasoning volleys back and forth, votes are changed and changed again amidst evidence, impatience, prejudice and bias. Emotions crash wildly from calm and collected to pugnacious and bigoted. They blast out of the tense and oppressive jurors room unapologetically into the audience as the storm brews.

The ways of persuasion, reasoning, sway and conviction are defended and objected to with morality and humanity being explored as twelve strangers, from all walks of life, face their own trials for justice and truth.

Staging is simple yet so effective. Tensions and resolve break as does the storm. The whirring thrum of the (finally working) fan as it attempts to clear the air and minds of the men at the table. The table that almost almost imperceptibly revolves coming full circle and mirroring time and topic. Finally, a simple gesture of human kindness and understanding as the decision is made.

With a superb and stellar cast from stage and screen, Twelve Angry Men is a compelling courtroom drama excelling in addressing the beliefs of right and wrong, and everything in between.

As part of a UK tour, Twelve Angry Men is showing at Milton Keynes till Saturday 17th February, matinee performances are on Wednesday and Saturday, and the running time is 2 hours and 20 minutes including interval. Tickets are available from £22.50 (+ 3.95 transaction fee), General bookings: 0844 871 7615, Access bookings:0333 009 5399, Group bookings:0207 206 1174


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