Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Twelve Angry Men - Paramount

Twelve Angry Men
The Paramount Theatre
Tickets and Information
Runs March 20 - 25, 2007

Reginald Rose’s Twelve Angry Men has lost none of its gusto since its original debut in the mid 1950’s. The same political issues in the juror’s room exist today as they always have. Unqualified lawyers, prejudiced jurors and stubborn individuals deciding the fate of the accused have plagued, and have continued to infect, our courts for decades.

The fourteen actors making up the cast of Twelve Angry Men bring to life an ensemble show that defines well-balanced. As exciting as it is to watch George Wendt (Juror One / Foreman) and Richard Thomas (Juror Eight) perform live, each actor holds his own with the others on and off stage while simultaneously supporting every other man to provide the audience with a true vision of teamwork. There is no moment when one actor outshines another. At every instant, each man’s work enlivens the others to create an honest vision of a jury’s chamber.

None of this could have been possible without the phenomenal direction by Scott Ellis. The seamlessness of the production is a testament to the clarity and smoothness of his direction. When one doesn't even notice how grand it must be because of the naturalism of the play, the true splendor of the director's skill is recognized.

Allen Moyer’s set uses a slight perspective to bring the audience fully into the room; there is no empty space surrounding the walls, and no wasted space inside. Each piece of the set functions perfectly and fully as it should and brings to life one of the most realistic sets that can be created on a proscenium stage.

This, supported by Paul Palazzo’s lighting design, creates near reality. As the play progresses from late afternoon to evening and as the weather shifts from hot to a muggy rain, the lighting changes appropriately and brilliantly. The light begins by sifting in through the blinds and ever so slowly shifts to the darkness of the evening when an amazingly bright fluorescent light is turned on in the room to light the environment.

Photo by: Joan Marcus

Additionally, the sound design by Brian Ronan added a beautifully subtle touch to the realism of the play. The tense silences in the room were often quietly underscored by the sound of rain outside the windows, or of distant sirens or trains, except when poignant silence was absolutely necessary.

Twelve Angry Men shows the audience the meaning of an ensemble show. Its incredible realism, dynamic interactions and powerhouse acting sweeps you along into a compelling story of proof, doubt, and the power of one man to open the minds of many.

Review by Nigel Andrew and Lia Morgan

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