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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Twelve Angry Men - Old and Solid - Theatre Review

Twelve Angry Men - Roundabout Theatre Company On Tour - The Princess of Wales Theatre - Toronto, ON
A Play by Reginald Rose, Directed by Scott Ellis

Now here's a classic play (that I'm sure you've seen ad naseum performed in high schools and community theatre everywhere) that was actually based on a TV movie. Who knew!? There was the Sydney Lumet film based on the play, but the play was originally based on a CBS TV movie back when there were still good TV movies (or TV movies at all).

The Roundabout Theatre Company's tour of Twelve Angry Men that has landed in Toronto may have come from an earlier time pre-Law & Orders but even though we now know every legal trick and mystery twist in the book, the play is no less affecting, especially when performed with a solid cast in a very solid traditional production.

The biggest name in the cast is Richard Thomas from The Waltons but he leads an all round terrific cast that surprisingly can differentiate themselves amongst the group of (basically) old white men, giving each juror (who aren't name and only identified by their juror number) an actual character that moves beyond caricature.

Yet, as old as the story may be, with a boy accused of murdering his father and the 12 jurors deciding his fate, it's amazingly relevant and timely still, with issues of race and prejudice brewing in a mix in a play that actually gives very little detail about the actual case.

Twelve Angry Men - **** (4 out of 5 Stars)

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