Twelve Angry Men at The Alexandra Birmingham | Until Saturday November 4.
Based on the 1957 three-time Academy Award nominated film, the iconic Twelve Angry Men is set entirely in a jury room as it determines the fate of a teenager accused of murdering his father and, if convicted, facing the electric chair.
The stage is set for what to 11 of them is unquestionably an open-and-shut case. However, Juror No8 – Patrick Duffy (yes, Bobby Ewing in Dallas) – is the story’s voice of reason. Stepping expertly into the role originally played by Henry Fonda, his doubt challenges the rush to deliver a guilty verdict and he calls on them to examine the case more closely.
As they deliberate, the audience is treated to a gripping exploration of social morals. It’s a masterclass in character study as the fascinating strengths and weaknesses of each juror are exposed. As the moral compass, Duffy’s individual conviction to “innocent until proven guilty” is excellently portrayed. The room around him constantly erupts into anger, yet he calmy confronts their biases and meticulously picks through the evidence.
The main antagonist is Juror No3 (Tristan Gemmill), a damaged man whose troubles with his own son drives a stubborn determination. His inability to set this aside provides a riveting portrayal of deep-seated anger. The remaining jurors – all with standout performances – bring their own personal baggage to the table, as one by one they rethink their initial decision. Juror No10 (Gray O’Brien) exposes the ugly face of bigotry, underscored by his unsettling remarks about the defendant’s upbringing. While Juror No7 (Michael Greco) shows a lack of seriousness in the proceedings, more interested in making it to an 8pm baseball game.
Originally set in the racially-charged 1950s, Twelve Angry Men shows little signs of ageing. Key themes are laid bare, and we watch as preconceived views clash with an unwavering commitment to morality. It’s a commentary that continues to be just as pertinent today; a timeless reminder of the failings of justice, prejudice and ignorance. Some may rail against a production cast made up solely of men, but every one of them captivated from curtain up to the final standing ovation. And its these stellar performances that make this an absolute must-see.
Tickets are available for performances through to Saturday November 4 here.