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Captivating and powerful performances which take you on a roller coaster of a ride.

Twelve Angry Men is a skillfully fashioned courtroom drama by Reginald Rose and based on the 1957 film nominated for three Academy Awards, is currently being shown at the Milton Keynes Theatre. The show has been highly acclaimed for its sophistication and cleverness and has had two successful runs at the Garrick Theatre. In the West End. The play brings to life this must-see story on stage.

On stage are many well-known faces, Jason Merrells (Casualty, Emmerdale) with Tristan Gemmill (Coronation Street, Casualty), Michael Greco (EastEnders, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes), Ben Nealon (Soldier Soldier, Doctors), Gary Webster (Minder, Family Affairs), and Gray O’Brien (Coronation Street, Peak Practice). Along side Paul Beech, Samarge Hamilton, Jeffrey Harmer, Mark Heenehan, Kenneth Jay, Paul Lavers, Owen Oldroyd and Adam Phillip Bloom.


When I was young, I watched the old black-and-white film featuring Henry Fonda. I remember thinking that the plot was clever and engaging, so I was curious to see how this team would bring the story to the stage and what they would do with the great narrative and script.


On the hottest, most humid day of the year, twelve jurors are locked in a room, contemplating a murder trial. They have the fate and life of a young delinquent accused of killing his father on their hands.  Eleven of the twelve jurors believe it to be an open-and-shut case, but one speaks up to share his doubts. He evaluates the facts logically and eloquently, avoiding getting caught up in the egos and tempers of those who hold more bigoted and close-minded views. Through careful consideration, he encourages them to question preconceived ideas. He is the voice of reason amid frustration, clashing personalities and egos and remains grounded in the facts. There’s a huge dilemma, as the tables turn every which way, inspiring two hours of enigmatic theatre culminating in an emotional climax. 


The set depicts a meeting room that resembles an old American TV detective series set in 1950s New York. The room has a stark and subdued ambience with an almost sepia effect due to the lighting. The attention to detail is impressive, the humming of the ceiling fan, the hard wooden furniture too uncomfortable to sit in too long, the dirty radiator, the rain pouring down the windows and a gents' toilet with running water in the grubby ‘restroom’ all added to the atmosphere. The costume too cleverly illustrates the background of each character.  


The acting in the show was outstanding, with great attention to detail in the characters' dynamics, body language, and accents. The plot was cleverly crafted, with moments of poignant and humorous throwaway lines to a rollercoaster of emotions, tense, frustrated, dramatic and angry. The male egos were also well-portrayed. The amount of energy and focus displayed on stage was immense.


Directed by Christopher Haydon with Associate Director Tim Welton, design by Michael Pavelka, lighting by Chris Davey and sound by Andy Graham, this was a powerful and captivating performance which I thoroughly enjoyed.


Playing until Saturday 17th February with tickets from £13. You can book your tickets now at ATGTICKETS.COM/MiltonKeynes.

Shahnaz Hussain (Shiny) - Arts Reviewer


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