Tuesday 6 February 2024

12 Angry Men - Review

Richmond Theatre, Richmond


Written by Reginald Rose
Directed by Christopher Haydon

The cast of 12 Angry Men

Catching up with the Bill Kenwright company’s touring production of 12 Angry Men proved an absolute delight. Reginald Rose’s classic yarn set in the jury room of a murder trial where with the death penalty awaiting a guilty verdict the life of the accused rests in the jurors’ hands, is done to perfection by an outstanding cast.

Jason Merrells takes up the role of Juror 8 - famously played by Henry Fonda in Sidney Lumet’s 1957 movie - kicking off proceedings as the sole Not Guilty voter amongst the 12. For those not familiar with the story, this review won’t spoil the outcome, suffice to say it’s a charming pot-boiler of a yarn that picks apart the trial’s evidence, drawing its dramatic strength through exposing the attitudes and prejudices of the titular dozen along the way.

Merrells is great but he’s well matched by Tristan Gemmill’s Juror 3, the play’s protagonist who is the most convinced that the accused should face the electric chair. There is brilliant supporting work too, notably from Michael Greco and Gary Webster, but it should be said that the entire cast, comprising a fair chunk of the cream of Britain’s acting talent pull off a terrific ensemble performance. Richmond Theatre was deservedly packed on the night of this review. Christopher Haydon has directed a brilliant evening’s entertainment which seen on the road, at regional theatre ticket prices, is brilliantly affordable too.

My verdict: Electrifying! Catch it if you can.

Runs until 10th February then continues on tour
Photo credit: Jack Merriman

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