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Twelve Angry Men

March 4th - March 9th

 

THE RECORD-BREAKING PRODUCTION RETURNS!

A life in the balance. Twelve men. One verdict.

Following a recording-breaking West End season, this powerful production of TWELVE ANGRY MEN is back in session!

Reginald Rose’s gripping courtroom thriller stars Jason Merrells (Emmerdale), Gray O’Brien (Coronation Street, Peak Practice), Tristan Gemmill (Coronation Street, Casualty), Michael Greco (EastEnders), Ben Nealon (Soldier Soldier) and Gary Webster (Minder, Family Affairs), with further casting to be announced.

Twelve Angry Men has been hailed ‘the classiest, most intelligent drama playing on the West End’. It brings the 1957 three-time Academy Award nominated film, considered one of the great ‘must-sees’ of all time, to the stage.

A jury has murder on their minds and a life in their hands as they decide the fate of a young delinquent accused of killing his father. But what appears to be an open and shut case soon becomes a huge dilemma, as prejudices and preconceived ideas about the accused, the trial, and each other turn the tables every which way, until the nail-biting climax…

Now it’s your turn to witness a ‘BRILLIANT’, ‘RIVETING’, ‘TRIUMPH’ of a show.
Running time: 2 hours 15 minutes (including interval)


Photo Credit: Jack Merriman

Details

Start:
March 4th
End:
March 9th
Event Categories:
,

Venue

Festival Theatre
Grange Road
Malvern, WR14 3HB

Other

Price:
Mon Eve & Wed Mat: £36.96 £34.72 £32.48 £29.12 £25.76
Tues-Thurs Eves & Sat Mat: £39.20 £36.96 £34.72 £31.36 £28.00
Fri & Sat Eves: £42.56 £40.32 £38.08 £34.72 £31.36
Members discounts apply
Price includes 12% booking fee
Show Times:
Monday 4th to Saturday 9th March
Evenings at 7.30pm
Wednesday & Saturday Matinees at 2.30pm

Event Reviews

  • The View from the Stalls - Pete Phillips

    Totally riveting and compelling to watch

    The concept is simple. Twelve men sitting around a table discussing the fate of a young suspected killer. This may not sound particularly exciting. But wait. These are twelve angry men and over the course of the show, their anger proves to be absolutely riveting.

    Twelve Angry Men starts out with what appears to be a clear-cut case of familial homicide. According to the trial, the boy was seen and heard stabbing his father. So the Twelve, from different walks of life like any jury, could potentially come to a quick unanimous decision and send the boy to the electric chair. But one Juror (none of them have names) has his doubts - not saying the boy is either guilty or innocent but questioning everything - and this definitely puts the cat amongst the pigeons as slowly but surely the absolute conviction of the other jurors begins to be questioned. There are, in particular, three jurors who are especially angry and heavily prejudiced - Juror 3 (played by Tristan Gemmill), 7 (Michael Greco) and 10 (Gray O'Brien) who are all in stark contrast to the always calm, never ruffled Juror 8 (Jason Merrells). Ben Nealon and Gary Webster are amongst the others whose attitudes begin to be questioned, the others being played by Paul Beech, Samarge Hamilton, Mark Heenehan, Kenneth Jay, Paul Lavers and Owen Oldroyd with Jeffery Harmer as the Guard.

    The play, which was originally created for television in 1954 before being rapidly adapted for stage and film, was written by Reginald Rose and it is cleverly situated in a hot stuffy room with no ventilation, guaranteed to create frayed tempers and bring out the worst in people. Casual racism, bullying and a desire to be anywhere but there are all present. And as the temperature rises, the insults and physical abuse get worse. The audience is left wondering if under these circumstances, a unanimous verdict can ever be achieved, so strong are the convictions of those who see the electric chair as the only outcome.

    The acting is powerful and believable (with all having to portray Americans) with the individual characteristics ranging from quiet and questioning to bombastic and abusive, all perfectly portrayed.
    The activities of a typical jury, necessarily secretive, are more or less unknown to the public, except through plays like this. Coincidentally, Channel 4's recent series The Jury: Murder Trial brought the jury system into close focus with a reconstructed murder trial deliberated overby not one but two separate juries. Many of the characteristics and attitudes shown in Twelve Angry Men are obviously still present in today's society…

  • Showtime! John Phillpott

    Anyone who has ever been called for jury service will appreciate the huge responsibility that comes with the role.

    The fate of a total stranger is in your hands. Will you rise to the occasion or be plagued with self-doubt?

    Then there’s the moral dimension. Could personal prejudices cloud one’s judgement? For example, regardless of how we may feel about present-day criminality, what about the burden of knowing that on your say-so, together with that of others, someone may be going to prison for a long time?

    So just imagine how much more burdensome this state-enforced system of justice – on pain of one’s own incarceration should you refuse to take part - must have been in the era of capital punishment.

    This is precisely the dilemma that underpins Reginald Rose’s classic knife-edge drama. Written against the backdrop of racial turmoil and the McCarthy era persecutions in 1950s America, the story clearly resonates with the present day and its all-pervasive and suffocating condemnatory climate.

    A 16-year-old boy has been on trial for the capital crime of murdering his father. If the jury finds him guilty, he will die in the electric chair. The judge has made it clear that there is no question of mercy being shown to the accused.

    The panel is made up of men from all walks of life and so they hold predictably diverse opinions regarding crime and punishment. And therein lies the problem. For what starts as a few ripples of doubt gradually swells to become a tsunami of uncertainty and recrimination, as the jury members wrestle not only with the awesome task that lies ahead, but also with their own personal demons.

    Christopher Haydon’s taut and fast-paced direction squeezes every last drop of nail-biting tension out of this thriller. As the men retire to consider their verdict on a sweltering summer’s afternoon, the claustrophobic atmosphere of the jury room mirrors the overheated arguments that rapidly unfold.

    This sterling production – the best I’ve seen of this gripping tale – features a whole host of familiar faces that have graced our television screens over the last few years in shows such as Coronation Street, The Bill and Casualty.

    But without doubt it is Corrie star Tristan Gemmill as juror 3 who commands the stage for most of the evening, as he leads his fellow alpha males on a ranting, headlong charge of bigotry that attempts to bludgeon the more compassionate arguments of the sole juror who casts doubt on the boy’s guilt.

    Juror 3 is your classic bully, a shouty species that can be found in any social situation. Silence and ambivalence merely encourage his behavioural depredations. Of course, all bullies need their henchman, and he finds a ready stooge in juror 10, played with an almost matching obnoxiousness by Gray O’Brien.

    However, juror 8 Jason Merrells valiantly parries all the verbal violence, steadfastly refusing to be cowed, and slowly but surely starts to find some unlikely allies.

    Reginald Rose’s relentlessly gripping drama works on the premise that although the jury has just retired, the real trial has only just begun with their deliberations, the audience itself being asked to consider - and maybe even pass - its own verdict on the deeply troubled individuals that stand before them.

    Twelve Angry Men never lets up for a single moment and represents live theatre at its very best. Warmly recommended.

  • Behind the Arras - Emma Trimble

    Succeeding a record-breaking West End season, *Reginald Rose’s atmospheric courtroom drama from 1954, Twelve Angry Men, is in session this week at Malvern Theatres until Saturday.

    The question on everyone’s lips ‘is there any reasonable doubt?’ Join the jury as a young boy’s life hangs in the balance and watch twelve strangers deliberate whether the verdict is guilty or not guilty? You decide.

    Twelve Angry Men was originally brought to life as a television play before it was adapted for the stage and only three years after that, Hollywood actor Henry Fonda, celebrated for films such as My Darling Clementine and The Grapes of Wrath, was asked by United Artists to co-produce a movie-length version, and the black and white 1957 film directed by Sidney Lumet, appeared on the big screens and is still to this day regarded by many as one of the greatest films ever made.
    Then there is Juror 10, Gray O’Brien, who is a loud-mouthed bigot and pushy character who is used to getting his own way, Juror 7, Michael Greco, a wisecracking salesman who just wants to get to the ball game, Juror 12, Ben Nealon, is easily swayed as an indecisive advertising executive, Juror 6, Gary Webster, a painter but respectful in his demeanor.

    There was the quieter Juror 4, Mark Heenehan who was unbelievably calm throughout, even his voice was calming, Juror 5, Samarge Hamilton, was from a violent slum and was a soft-spoken paramedic, Juror 9, Paul Beech, a wise elderly gentleman, Juror 11, Kenneth Jay, watchmaker immigrant, Juror 2, Paul Lavers, unpretentious bank clerk and foreman, Owen Oldroyd, tries his best to organise the rabble and break up any heated debates.

    An emotional expedition behind the scenes of a courtroom that thankfully weathers the storm. “It’s always difficult to keep personal prejudice out of a thing like this. And wherever you run into it, prejudice always obscures the truth. I don’t really know what the truth is. I don’t suppose anybody will ever really know.”

    Audiences can now experience the stage version in all its glory, directed by Christopher Haydon, and become transported next to the L-track in New York during the hottest day of the year as the jury members sweat it out and debate a teenager’s death sentence. How could one witness see through a passing train and identify a murderer? How could an old man shuffle from his bedroom to his front door in only 15 seconds? Do you always remember details of films you watch at the cinema? Let’s look only at the facts.

    All twelve jurors were remarkable with their unique nuances; Juror 3, Tristan Gemmill, was a distraught father and businessman with strong opinions and stubborn with an explosive temper, Juror 8, Jason Merrells, an architect by trade and a protagonist, who questions the ‘guilty’ votes just because he doesn’t know and isn’t positive.

  • Fairy Powered Productions - Courie Amado Juneau

    Twelve Angry Men was originally conceived by TV writer Reginald Rose when finding himself part of a jury in a manslaughter case. From within the jury room he realised he had stumbled upon his idea. This work soon made its way from the small screen to the stage and ultimately, in 1957, to the big screen. And here we are enjoying its return to the incomparable Malvern Theatres.

    This work is an interesting piece – the characters don’t even have names – just Guard, Juror 1 etc. That’s a novel approach which reminded me of the 60’s TV show The Prisoner (very apt). I loved that we didn’t get embroiled in the back story of the jurors or, at least, only as much as was needed to advance the plot. No characters stood out as being the most interesting as they were all interesting, no actors stood out as they were all amazing and shone equally brightly! Actually, I’ll amend that statement to “all of the actors stood out”. That said, I will mention a couple due to their character’s pivotal role in proceedings…

    Jason Merrells as Juror 8 gave a deliciously logical character, being at times the voice of reason and the first to raise doubts. He was the Poirot the play needed to start the arguments rolling. Without his early intervention it would have been a much speedier affair, so thank God for Juror 8. Juror 3, played with gusto by Tristan Gemmill, was not so impressed by any of his fellow juror’s flapdoodling leading to some gloriously full throttled outbursts. Samarge Hamilton gave us an exceptional portrayal of Juror 5, palpably battling with the inner turmoil of the question at hand and a lifetime of being unjustly pre-judged. His character was pitched with an authenticity that did him and the work justice (pun slightly intended). I also very much enjoyed the more whimsical elements introduced throughout by several characters which kept it all light and frothy.

    There was little to no special effects or music, no costume changes and just one static set (more a suggestion than a fully realised set – reminding one of the way season 3 of Adam West’s Batman rendered sets). And it was all the more powerful for it as it concentrated the attention on the drama; on the words, the dilemma and the acting.

    It was fascinating to watch the tone of the room and protagonists shift as the arguments for and against the accused unfolded. This included the resistance that some showed to the facts and the reasons why people shifted their position. The portrayals were sometimes subtle and sometimes painted in broader strokes but always riveting and served the forward thrust of the story.

    A superbly acted ensemble piece that holds a mirror up to our assumptions and asks us to look again at our preconceptions. It’s a powerful piece of social commentary but also wildly entertaining. It may have started with twelve angry men but it ended with one happy audience. I can think of no greater accolade for tonight’s cast than I now intend to seek out the original film version. Bravo!

  • Helen

    Absolutely fantastic, So true to the film.
    Would definitely recommend.....

  • Les

    Total Triumph Had it all Stella Performances from All in there own way It was my 75th Birthday
    And it was the Best Present Ever
    Would Have liked to Thanked Them all for a Brilliant Night

  • Lynda

    Fantastic production with an outstanding cast.

  • Mo

    A riveting production which had the whole audience holding its breath


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