Twelve Angry Men at Richmond Theatre
Direct from its record-breaking run at the West End’s Garrick Theatre, Twelve Angry Men comes to Richmond Theatre. Directed by Christopher Haydon, it is the story of twelve jurors attempting to come to a decision on the innocence or guilt of a young man accused of the murder of his father. The story’s most successful previous incarnation was as the 1957 film starring Henry Fonda, whose role as Juror Eight is played here by Olivier Award Winner, Broadway Tony Award Winner and Oscar nominee Tom Conti. Conti has big shoes to fill, but does so with aplomb. It’s a pleasure to watch tempers rise as he keeps his infuriating cool.
Coronation Street fans will recognise Andrew Lancel as the belligerent Juror Three. With an incredibly emotional performance, Twelve Angry Men is an opportunity for Lancel to showcase a very different kind of actor to fans that may only know him from his TV work. As his chest puffs and deflates throughout the play, the conclusions and revelations of Juror Three are by far the most moving.
Covering topics that are just as relevant today, Twelve Angry Men is an engaging piece of theatre in which the running time seems to disappear. It illuminates the potential successes and failures of the jury system and the issues of people bringing potential bias and preconceived ideas to court, regardless of prior interviewing. As each rock-solid “fact” of the case is reexamined, the personal feelings and prejudices of the characters are exposed.
The setting lends itself so well to the tension that very little is required for the staging. However, the set is a beautifully understated period piece, using the whole space without completely losing the sensation of claustrophobia. The heat and sweat in the room are tangible.
As contentious as it may have been at the time to feature 12 white males in this jury, it highlights the marked differences in a group of men that are often considered to be the same. This performance is a strong portrayal of Reginald Rose’s tense and sweaty creation and will not disappoint fans of the film.
Twelve Angry Men is on at Richmond Theatre from 27th April 2015 until 2nd May 2015, for further information or to book visit here.