note: entire contents copyright 2013 by Richard Pacheco
“Twelve Angry Men” at Your Theatre By Richard Pacheco Your Theatre’s current production of the 1967 film classic, “Twelve Angry Men” is simply superb. Intense, vibrant, electric and well acted it sizzles with conflict and intelligence. The large ensemble cast is rich with energy and nuance, with the characters well define and articulate. “12 Angry Men” is a 1957 American drama film adapted from a teleplay of the same name by Reginald Rose. Written and produced by Rose himself and directed by Sidney Lumet, this trial film tells the story of a jury made up of 12 men as they deliberate the guilt or acquittal of a defendant on the basis of reasonable doubt. In the United States, a verdict in most criminal trials by jury must be unanimous. Staged in a 1964 London production, the Broadway debut came 50 years before the CBS aired the play on October 28, 2004, by the Roundabout Theatre Company at the American Airlines Theatre, where it ran for 328 performances. This rich and complex play is must see theater, vividly acted and brought to life with energy and conviction by a talented cast Wade Martin is juror number 8, the role played by Henry Fonda in the movie, the juror with doubts, reasonable doubts about the prosecution’s entire case and meticulously and effectively takes it apart piece by piece much to the chagrin of the other jurors. He is reasonable and articulate, calm and effective throughout, making his points with self control and intelligence as he presents alternatives to the crime, shooting holes in the evidence. It is a stunning performance, controlled and sincere throughout, very effective. Tony Oliva is juror 1, the foreman of the jury. He is thoughtful, precise and in control of the gamut of emotions which ravage the jury room in the deliberations. He brings a sense of homey order to all of it. Roland Dube is the quiet banker, juror number 2. He is meek and sincere, very genuine. Dube gives an excellent performance, with just the right nuance. Chuck Doherty is the outspoken juror number 3, a man with seething temper and tons of outspoken opinions which are emotionally based. He hates his son and sees the defendant in that light, echoing King Lear, “how shaper than a serpent’s’ tooth it is to have a thankless child.” Eric Paradis, as Juror No. 4, the stockbroker, a man who is confident, self assured and analyzes everything in front of him in detail. It is a strong performance, very precise and articulate. Brian Costa is Juror No. 5, a young man who grew up in city slums and can empathize with the young defendant. It is a solid, emotional performance, full of nuance. Roger Duarte is Juror No. 6, a house painter and down to earth kind of guy. It is an impressive, consistent performance. Bob Goodwin is Juror No. 7, a slick and sometimes obnoxious salesman who would have done anything to avoid jury duty. He is consistently loud and insulting to everyone. It is an admirable performance. Juror No. 9 is soft spoken, played by Al Vitale, a man who is meek and mild, he is the first to agree with Juror #8, deciding that there is not enough evidence to sentence the young man to death. It is a confident and self assured performance with just the right touches throughout. Juror No. 10 is expertly played by Frank Mitchell, as an obnoxious bigot who rants and rages on with no stop yakking. Tommy Whalen makes an impressive stage debut as Juror No. 11 a watchmaker from Europe and a naturalized American citizen, who loves his new country. Michael McGill is the annoying advertising executive with a full range of expressions that are often very comic in a winning performance. To round out that cast is Dennis J. Smith as the court officer and William C. Smith as the Clerk’s voice. A nice touch to the production is the voice of the judge at the beginning who outlines the charges and gives them the legal information they need is none other than actor, playwright and New Bedford Judge Raymond J. Veary Jr. Director Bob Gillet delivers and imaginative, intelligent highly effective staging of theatre in the round. It is excellent direction, right on the mark and evoking the best out of the actors consistently and continually. The set and period costumes by Mark P Fuller are very effective and work well. A nice touch to the production is the voice of the judge at the beginning who outlines the charges and gives them the legal information they need is none other than actor, playwright and New Bedford Judge Raymond J. Veary Jr.. "Twelve Angry Men" continues at Your Theatre, 136 Rivet Street (corner of County), through March 30. Tickets are $15. For reservations call 508-993-0772 or visit firstname.lastname@example.org.