Posts Tagged ‘Robert Wagner’

Twenty-eight years ago I saw a young(ish) Jeff Fahey give an edgy, riveting performance alongside Albert Finney in Orphans at Hampstead Theatre. I haven’t seen him on stage since, until yesterday giving a passionate & just as riveting performance as Juror 3. Yet he’s only one of a fine ensemble which is a very good reason to see this revival. Another good reason is that it’s a gripping drama which has lost none of its punch.

Reginald Rose’s story has had an unorthodox journey from 1954 live TV play to to 1957 Sidney Lumet film to stage play first seen in the UK in 1964, again in 1996 directed by Harold Pinter and it stormed the Edinburgh fringe ten years ago in a production featuring a bunch of stand-up comedians. The truth is, the stage suits it better than the screen and this revival proves this conclusively.

I’m sure everyone knows the story of an all-male jury which has to decide the fate of a 16-year-old who is alleged to have murdered his father. Juror 8 prevents an instant unanimous guilty verdict, not because he thinks he isn’t guilty, but to ensure there is proper consideration of the facts. As they review the evidence, jurors begin to change their positions.

In addition to Fahey, the ‘names’ Martin Shaw and Robert Wagner don’t disappoint, but there are also fine performances from Nick Moran, Miles Richardson, Owen O’Neill (who was in the Edinburgh fringe production), Robert Blythe and Edward Franklin. Director Christopher Haydon and designer Michael Pavelka have done a fine job staging and setting the piece, with the jury table on such an imperceptibly slow revolve it took me ages to realise it was moving!

It might be an old warhorse, but its definitely worth catching in its last month.

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