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  • Writer's pictureNeill Kovacic-Clarke

REVIEW: TWELVE ANGRY MEN @ THE PRINCESS THEATRE

🎭 Twelve Angry Men 

📍  Princess Theatre, Torbay Road, Torquay, Devon, TQ2 5EZ                             

🗓 Tuesday 2nd April 2024

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DRAMA AT ITS BEST


One man is dead and the life of another is at stake as the twelve men of a New York jury head into deliberations to decide if a young Puerto Rican boy is guilty of murdering his father.


It seems it's an open and shut case - the boy is guilty. But is he? The jury decide to do an intial vote to see where they all stand and eleven of them anger as one man votes not guilty. They are to feel the defendant is guilty beyond reasonable doubt to convict him and Juror 8 feels the 16 year old boy deserves a proper discussion before being sent to his death.


Will an innocent man be put to death? Perhaps a guilty man will be set free? One thing's for sure, his fate now lies in the hands of these twelve strangers who must work together to come to a fair and just decision.


The play is a real character study as the twelve different personalities juggle the facts and come to blows as they decide on their verdict. The juxtaposition of their views creates heated debates, especially when faced with the facts some jurors change their vote to not guilty.


Twelve Angry Men is utterly compelling from start to finish and even though it seems as not much is really happening I found myself utterly transfixed and completely invested - wanting to know more and more about the case and deciding for myself whether the accused is guilty or not.


Written and set in the 1950's, the characters are very much of their time and have old-fashioned and prejudiced views on things such as class and race, using phrases such as "a boy like that". Will they allow these prejudices to cloud their judgement? What about personal emotions? Can their relationships with their own sons have any bearing at all on this case?



The story by Reginald Rose is strong and has more than stood the test of time. Having a central story this good is elevated by the incredible cast of actors in this production. There was not one weak link amongst them and whether they had a lot to say or not, each of them were sensational. On the stage the entire time, it mattered not who you were watching at any given time - they were all completely immersed in their roles and created an interest around themselves.


Jason Merrells as Juror 8 is quietly commanding as he calmly and collectively explains his reasons for his initial solitary not guilty vote. Juror 10 portrayed by Gray O'Brien is a bit of a snob who seems to have a bit of a chip on his shoulder as well as an extremely short fuse. Michael Greco as Juror 7 is a bit of a smart arse who just wants the deliberations to finish so he can head to a ball game.


Mark Heenehan as Juror 4 was very cool and collected throughout and Juror 3 portrayed by Jeffrey Harmer was perhaps the most complex and interesting of them all. He certainly went on the biggest journey and gave a masterclass in acting as he delivered the role. You could see realisation on his face at certain points and you disliked him as he was disrespectful of others and then really felt for him as personal stories came out.


Michael Pavelka's set was incredible here and the revolving table was genius. It sounds strange but I never noticed the table move! I was so transfixed by the story and the action that I would suddenly realise the table had moved! This is a testament to how good the story and the acting were.


Chris Davey's lighting design and Christopher Haydon's direction are both exceptional here too.


Twelve Angry Men is a must-see show and is playing at Torquay's Princess Theatre until Saturday 6th April. Click here for tickets - you don't want to miss this.


Neill Kovacic-Clarke



All views are my own and I pride myself on being honest, fair and free from influence. Theatre is subjective and it is important to remember that all views expressed are just those of one reviewer.


My ticket for this performance of Twelve Angry Men was gifted by the Princess Theatre who invited me to watch the show in exchange for my honest review. The fact that my ticket was gifted played no part in the content of my review or the star rating given.


CAST LIST:

Owen Oldroyd as Foreman; Paul Lavers as Juror 2; Jeffrey Harmer as Juror 3; Mark Heenehan as Juror 4; Samarge Hamilton as Juror 5; Gary Webster as Juror 6; Michael Greco as Juror 7; Jason Merrells as Juror 8; Paul Beech as Juror 9; Gray O'Brien as Juror 10; Kenneth Jay as Juror 11; Ben Nealon as Juror 12; Adam Phillip Bloom as Guard


RUNNING TIME (approx):

2 hours 20 minutes, including interval


CONTENT WARNINGS:

Descriptions of violence and murder



The Princess Theatre is part of the Ambassadors Theatre Group and is situated on Torquay’s beautiful seafront.

As South Devon's largest theatre with a seating capacity of 1,491 it is the perfect South West showcase for the very best West End and touring productions.


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