'12 Angry Men,' one happy audience

April 4, 2008
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I usually save reviews for my print column. (See the latest here.

But since “12 Angry Men,” running through Sunday at the Murat Theatre is so good — and, for us, so unique — I felt attention should be paid here.

The courtroom drama is one of those shows that might lead cynics to ask “Why bother?” After all, it’s already a staple in community theaters and high schools, it doesn’t have the flash that audiences have come to expect from big-ticket touring shows, and even to the uninitiated, it’s pretty clear from the get go where the story is going.

But the Roundabout Theatre’s production brushes all of that aside within minutes, pulling audiences in with crystal clear, compelling performances, an ideal, realistic set and crisp direction. Every moment in the show matters and the commitment of all involved is palpable. The result is stage entertainment of a high order.

You can feel the ache in the stomach of Richard Thomas who plays the (initially) lone holdout juror. But you also get a clear look into the souls of 11 others, wrestling with their consciences, their prejudices and their prides. Knowing the conclusion only makes the tension generated even more impressive.

The only downside is the knowledge that there aren’t more such shows barnstorming the country. It would be great to have at least one a season.

Your thoughts?
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  • I am sorry that I will not be able to see this production. I would like to have seen John Boy in person, even if he was someone else in this show.

    I also like the website for Twelve Angry Men On Tour. I love that there is a study guide, info about the cast, and other goodies. Here is the link:

    http://www.12angrymentour.com/

    Lou, I have been enjoying your MidHem extensions, aka Dome Dispatches at http://www.myspace.com/louharry.

    When do we get to read your review of the Human festival? I am very curious about it.

    Hope Baugh
    www.IndyTheatreHabit.com
  • Glad to hear that this is on the To See list. The 1957 Sidney Lumet film adaptation starring Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb, Jack Klugman, Jack Warden, EG Marshall, and Ed Begley, Sr. is an all time classic. But it was a play first. Even on the screen, it's essentially a stage play.

    I only hope that I won't be distracted by the fact that I'm watching the John Boy Walton of my youth.
  • Actually, it was produced for television before it was on stage or film.
  • Hope,

    My Humana Festival review is posted at:

    http://www.ibj.com/html/detail_page.asp?content=13399

    Thanks for your interest.

    Lou
  • Thanks, Lou!

    The Humana Festival sounds like something I would LOVE. Thanks for writing about it. I am going to do as you suggested earlier and put a big circle around March in my 2009 calendar.

    That new sticker book and gallery sounds very fun, too. 'Sounds like an excellent present/outing.

    And I have never seen Showboat, so now I will make time to see it at Beef'n'Boards.

    Yup: a very satisfying read.

    Just FYI: when I click to your article from the link you provided above, I can't read the last few paragraphs. My arrow thingy won't let me scroll down far enough. I have to go back to the ibj home page to read the whole piece, which is not that big a deal, but it might discourage some people from reading it all. I tried it twice, so I don't think it is a problem with my computer. Maybe there is something you can fix on your end.

    Anyway, thanks! Have a great weekend!

    Hope Baugh
    www.IndyTheatreHabit.com
  • Oh, wait - on the third try, it did let me read the whole thing from the above link. Never mind. :-)
  • Regretfully, I had to miss this opportunity for another commitment. But, much to my surprise, my mom took my dad instead (who isn't known for craving the chance to catch something at the theater). He called me two days later, thanked me for letting him go and was talking this up a storm. The next chance I get, I'm going to rent the movie and watch it with dear-old Dad.
  • I saw the final performance last night and enjoyed it. All the actors gave strong performances - a treat with such a large ensemble. I was disappointed in the costuming. I felt for a national touring company the costuming should have been more true to the era.

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