Subscribe      List an Event or Business      Invite a Writer      Write for WN      Writers      Other Locations

Twelve Angry Men at Garrick Theatre - Review

Home > London > Theatre | Theatre Reviews
by Alison Brinkworth (subscribe)
Freelance journalist in Birmingham with a passion for the dynamic theatre, art, food and fashion scene in Britain's 'Second City'.
Event: -
The verdict's out - a superb cast in a sensational show
Henry Fonda set the bar as the morally-conscious man who forces members of a jury to fully analyse a case in the renowned film version of this story.

So how could a new production match such an iconic performance as Fonda's?

Twelve Angry Men stars Robert Vaughn and Martin Shaw

Catching the play during its UK tour ahead of its arrival at London's Garrick Theatre, I quickly realised that this play has more than just Fonda. It has a roll call of distinguished British and American actors whose chemistry together creates a night of pure theatre excellence.

Firstly, there's Martin Shaw, taking a break from similarly righteous characters of Judge John Deed and Inspector George Gently, in the lead role as Juror 8. Calmly confident, he unflinchingly stands firm with his not guilty vote, despite being the only juror to believe the 16-year-old in the New York court dock may not have murdered his father.

He faces a medley of characters to argue against, from the openly racist workman to the disinterested salesman and a father full of pent up anger.

The biggest impact on stage is made by one of the stalwart's of stage and screen - Robert Vaughn. This Man from UNCLE, gent in BBC1 series Hustle and one of The Magnificent Seven commands attention with every movement, flinch and speech.

There are plenty of other fine actors in the cast, the likes of Nick Moran, who shot to fame after Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels; and former Royal Shakespeare Company thespian Miles Richardson.

There's also American film and TV star Jeff Fahey, recently seen in Under the Dome and Lost, who has starred in movies with Kevin Costner, Clint Eastwood and Danny Glover during an illustrious career. Interestingly, he is a global ambassador of the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants and has spent the past 18 months working in Syrian refugee camps on the Jordanian, Iraqi and Turkish borders before returning to the theatre for this production.

Other actors in the jury - Luke Shaw, David Calvitto, Paul Anthony-Barber, Edward Franklin, Robert Blythe, Martin Turner and Owen O'Neill - play their roles with vigour and each add an important element to the full picture.

Twelve Angry
From left to right: Martin Shaw, Jeff Fahey, Nick Moran and Robert Vaughn star in Twelve Angry Men

Set purely in a 1950s jury room, the spirited script constantly keeps the momentum flowing with plenty of wit. Gradually developing each of the jurors' back stories while also adding more detail of the case, it is almost a murder mystery.

Speaking about the play, Martin Shaw said: "We've got a beautiful play, wonderfully well written.

It started as a teleplay, then a stage play, then a film, so it's moved around a bit, but it's just fabulously well crafted."

In fact, it is so well crafted that by the end of the play, you feel like you understand each of the twelve mens' motivations and backgrounds.

And it is this bond with the jury and the hope for some kind of justice, along with the quality of acting on stage by every one of the cast, what makes this production work so well.

There is only one verdict for Twelve Angry Men - it's undeniably guilty of grabbing your attention and never letting it go.

Rating: 10/10

Twelve Angry Men

Garrick Theatre, London - November 7, 2013 - March 1, 2014
Tickets cost from 29 - 95.
Tickets can be bought from The Garrick Theatre website.
Help us improve  Click here if you liked this article  11
Share: email  facebook  twitter
Why? Stunning theatre with top actors
When: From November 6, 2013 - March 1, 2014
Where: Garrick Theatre, London
Cost: From 29
Your Comment
Articles from other cities
Popular Articles