Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Twelve Angry Men"

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entire contents copyright 2005 by Tony Annicone

"Twelve Angry Men"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

The newly formed theater company, The Ungar/Madison Production Company in association with The Chariho Players' first show is a multimedia presentation of the courtroom drama, "Twelve Angry Men". Director Ben Barber uses a filmed start to this presentation by showing the courtroom setting and the judges orders before the jury deliberates in the live theatrical presentation. The show is about a 19 year old man who has just stood trial for the fatal stabbing of his father. "He doesn't stand a chance" mutters the guard as the 12 jurors are taken into the bleak jury room. It looks like an open and shut case until one of the jurors begins opening the others' eyes to the facts. "This is a remarkable thing about democracy," says the foreign born juror, " that we are notified by mail to come down to this place and decide on the guilt or innocence of a man; a man we have not known before. We have nothing to gain or lose by our verdict. We should not make it a personal thing." But personal it does become, with each juror revealing his own character as the various testimonies are re-examined, the murder re-enacted and a new murder threat is born before their eyes. Tempers get short, arguments grow heated, and the jurors become 12 angry men. Each of the actors gets a chance to shine in their individual scenes, keeping the audience's interest from start to finish and making them witness some wonderful acting by a cast of mostly young men in their teens and early twenties.

Ben not only directs the show but plays Juror # 12. He use of the video in the court shows what happens before they enter the stage. The video was edited by Tim Bonner and shown by Curt Dumas with the additional cast of Vinnie Lefkowitz as the Judge and Mike Reilly Sr. as the baliff in the movie. This is Ben's debut as a director and he captures the drama with some really good actors in these roles. He builds the tension and lets it explode, knocking you over with its intensity. Ben's next project is the new version of "The Odd Couple" called "Oscar and Felix" and will be performed in the winter, delivering much laughter during the bleak wintertime.

The angriest juror # 3 is played with excellent intensity by Dave DeAlmo who delivers a powerhouse performance. He shows the torment of a father who has quarreled with his own son, bringing his bias to this case and leaves you in tears at his final decision. Dave is a senior at Chariho High School and this is an excellent start to his theatrical career. David DeAngelis also a senior at Chariho plays the dissenting juror # 8 who gets the others to put on their thinking caps. He prods and probes each detail of the case, showing there is a reasonable doubt. His real life father, David DeAngelis Jr. plays the eldest juror # 9 who explains the motives of the old man who supposedly witnessed the suspect fleeing the crime. Another explosive juror is played by Preston Lawhorne. He is a prejudiced filled bigot who doesn't believe the suspect is innocent because people like him lie all the time. Condemning him because he is poor. Paul Dumas makes his debut in the this show and handles his foreign accent and many lines with ease as he points out the error of the Americans viewpoints. Mike Reilly is an old hand at theatrical roles, playing juror # 7 who constantly wears his hat and is in a hurry to leave because he has tickets to see "Oklahoma". His experience comes through in his numerous lines and topnotch line delivery.

The rich businessman juror is played by Mike Ottaviano who has many lines and makes them count especially when he admits he is wrong. Joey Kilcoyne makes his debut in this show as the juror who keeps time with the second hand on his watch and who needs to wear his glasses to see the time, providing a clue to a witnesses testiimony. Sam Major plays the poor juror # 5 who empathizes with the suspect's upbringing while Josh Redinger plays juror # 6 who keeps things calm during one of the crisis in the jury room. Both Sam and Josh are debuting as actors in this show. The foreman of the jury is played by Mat Clerrico in his first speaking part on stage. He keeps control of the jury by demanding counts and recounts of the verdict of his fellow jurors. So for a look at some young actors making their debut on stage in a well done dramatic tale, be sure to catch "Twelve Angry Men". If you miss the show, they have videos of it available so you can still witness their wonderful work.

"Twelve Angry Men" ( 16 -18 September)
@ Chariho Junior High School, Switch Road, RICHMOND RI
1 (401) 742-2236

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide