By Reginald Rose
Directed by Christopher Haydon
Venue: Yvonne Arnaud Theatre
Date: Friday 13th March 2015
It’s almost exactly a year since we saw this production in London, and tonight was just as enjoyable an experience. Most of the cast had changed, but the set and staging were all the same, although they didn’t play the city noises before the start. Being in the front row meant that we were closer to the action and I certainly heard much more of the excellent dialogue tonight. The audience were nicely responsive, and the conflicts between the characters came across very clearly, while the tension of the unfolding story built nicely as well, especially through the second half. The revolve worked well, shifting the position of the table so subtly that I didn’t notice it, but I was more aware of the many trips to the water cooler made by most of the characters. All the performances were good, and Steve even thought that Tom Conti just shaded Martin Shaw as juror 8. (I had them neck and neck.)
One thing I was more aware of this time round was that the jurors had had to absorb a great deal of evidence over three days, so they hadn’t been able to spot the discrepancies till juror 8 made them spend some time considering their verdict. We did get a look at the floor plan of the flat this time; it was big enough to see, at least from the front rows. The quality of this play is such that we could watch it time and again and still find it enjoyable and gripping, so hopefully it will come back around in the future.
© 2015 Sheila Evans at ilovetheatre.me