REVIEW – Twelve Angry Men (The Lowry)

© 2015 Pamela Raith
© 2015 Pamela Raith
Date: 23 march 2015
Upstaged Rating: 

Twelve Angry Men opened at The Lowry last night following its record breaking run at the Garrick Theatre in the West End. Presented by Bill Kenwright, this powerful new production sees Reginald Rose‘s gripping courtroom drama and three-time Academy Award nominated screenplay, including best picture, suited perfectly for the stage.

It’s late summer in 1954 and the scene is a New York City courthouse, a jury of twelve men has murder on their minds as they decide the fate of a young delinquent accused of killing his father. If found guilty the boy faces the death penalty. At first the trial appears to be an open and shut case, with a unanimous verdict of guilty, but there is one juror who believes the case isn’t as straightforward as it first appears to be.

Olivier Award Winner, Tony Award Winner, Variety Award Winner and Academy Award and Golden Globe nominee Tom Conti plays Juror 8, an architect, who believes it could be possible that the boy did not kill his father. The verdict of the case becomes a huge dilemma as tensions, prejudices and discriminations, from each of the jurors, towards the accused are laid bare and thrashed out.

© 2015 Anton Belmonté
© 2015 Anton Belmonté

Under the direction of Christopher Haydon, the whole play works perfectly in the one setting of the jury room, there are no scene changes and the walls of the jurors room become claustrophobic as the tension builds throughout. The thunderstorms and stifling summer weather transfer well into the jury room. Michael Pavelka‘s set design sees the rain pouring down the windows to the sound of thunder- it’s all very reflective of the pressures and anger of the twelve jurors confined to the room.

None of the jurors are known by their names instead they are referred to as a number, although, there is some reference made to their occupations. It is hard to pick out any stand-out performance in this show as it is extremely well cast with many strong performances, Tom Conti‘s performance as juror 8 is outstanding.

The production did start half an hour later than planned on its opening night, because of technical problems, however this did not detract from the show in the slightest. Twelve Angry Men is an edge of your seat courtroom drama that was well worth the wait, managing to keep the audience captivated from start to finish.

-Kristy Stott

Twelve Angry Men is at The Lowry until Saturday 28 March 2016.