They have a bit of a reputation this Brighton Road mob. After having seen their latest piece, TWELVE ANGRY MEN, it is easy to see why. I’ve had to be very picky to find anything to pan at all this month.
Judy Menz, herself fairly well known around our circles in Adelaide, has done an excellent bit of directing with a generally good cast. The play is a quite technical piece of theatre and would be found fairly daunting by most amateur production groups. A cast of thirteen, all men, has to be a stumbling block for a start. Then to put them all on to a fairly small set and maintain a degree of orderly movement is no mean feat. Judy Menz has done just that though and one is obliged to congratulate her.
The play itself is a very good one, I had seen it before either as a film or as a teleplay, I don’t remember but I think I enjoyed it more this time. It is set in a Big Apple criminal court jury room and opens as the jury retires to consider their verdict in what seems to be an open and shut murder case. An initial vote results in an 11 – 1 result for conviction, because a conviction will be result in the death sentence, one juror holds out only because he believes the matter should be debated. After the two acts of fairly solid drama peppered with some lighter moments, which sees the trial evidence raked over completely, our jurly returns a verdict of not guilty and a gross miscarriage of justice has been avoided.
I would normally find fault with most actors hereabouts who tackle the difficulty of carrying an american accent right through such a play. On this occasion it is difficult to so do. There were the regular occasions when a player would drift away but, it seemed to me that because of the large and capable cast, plus the almost continuous dialogue, these glitches were hardly noticable.
The only real blemish on this well mounted and well produced piece was a sad need to overwork the prompt. She did a good job however and knew her cast well which resulted in very good continuity, missed lines which were vital to the plot were picked up and reinserted quickly with little disruption to the play. A big bunch of roses to the lady concerned. The Continuity role or prompt is ever the hardest one to fill in most groups as it carries not a jot of glamour yet, a play such as this one could be a complete disaster without a good one.
I was very pleased that the two pair of taps in the washroom were not charged with water as three different characters on three occasions were guilty of turning them on to wash their hands and went back on to the main set without turning them off again. A minor point of course but it does affect the believability a bit and directors should note.
Well designed set, nicely built, fairly well lit though I would like to see the multiple shadows washed off the walls with a bit of back lighting.
So, good play, good productions, good cast, good night out and good gracious aren’t I generous this month.
Which brings me to a little matter of all my ‘fans’ out there in Hamland who have made their presence known to me. Thank you for the nice comments and invitations. Please be assured that I will get around to visiting you all as soon as I can. Our editor is a bit tight with his space and will only provide the one page so, traumatise a tibia or fracture a femur in the meantime and I will try to catch your next opus.
Not all of my fans are impressed however, to these I can only say, I am an honest guy at heart and if my performance has displeased you, we must surely be quits.
DRAMATI – CAL