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Twelve Angry Men

Twelve Angry Men

The 2015 production of Twelve Angry Men has been revived at The Lowry’s Lyric Theatre.

Originally a 1954 television play, based on playwright Reginald Rose’s real-life experience of jury service in New York, it has also had two film versions before being adapted for the stage. The action is set almost exclusively in a locked jury room, where the arguments of whether to send a young man to the electric chair or acquit him of murder take place. It’s very well done, and the anger that builds is palpable.

It’s the only play I know where nobody on stage is named, being known only as Foreman, Jurors, and Guard. Juror #8 (played by Jason Merrells) is the one who is central to the result, bringing his fellow jurors round one by one to the not inevitable conclusion. Various prejudices come out for returning a guilty verdict, but there are more petty and mundane reasons (like being late for the ball game) that I imagine are all too common, where some of those locked in just want it all to be over and go home.

As the play develops, we find out more and more about the jurors’ characters and lives, and their ability (or lack of it) to see things differently to what has convinced them of the guilt of the supposed murderer in court. The fallibility of witnesses who possibly have their own agenda regardless of the facts is also well explored.

As Juror #8 builds his case, pent-up anger explodes several times. It’s entirely convincing but there is humour too, surprisingly. Initially I thought the script a bit too wordy, but at the end, when Juror# 8 is vindicated, I now see it was actually quite tight.

Twelve Angry Men runs until March 2nd.

Also, with some lovely savings at the bar with our CANALSTVIPCARD too.

Paul Schofield for Canal Street Online.

Tickets 

Published: 29-Feb-2024 (7399)

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