BY GEORGE J. DACRE
The classic play about a jury of 12 deliberating a first degree murder charge against a 16-year-old is currently featured at Antrim Playhouse in Wesley Hills. This production gets your attention and holds it firmly all the way to its dramatic end. Antrim assembled a great cast and the action is intense from the first ballot with 11 guilty and one not guilty, to the climax.
Open and shut capital murder case say most of the jury, but juror number eight, played wonderfully by Mary Laido, raises question after question pointing toward possible reasonable doubt. The arguments get intense, almost to the point of physical fighting, with juror number three, played by Maureen Lambri, being the strongest advocate for the guilty verdict and the death penalty.
Questions are raised about the knife said to be the death weapon. Laido pulls out a knife similar to it and says she bought it.
The relevance of a witnesses that said he heard the youth shout “I am going to kill you” is questioned by Laido on the grounds that it’s something many people say and do not really mean. This became startling when number three shouts “I am going to kill you” to number eight. And the questions keep coming and the votes keep coming.
The beauty of “Twelve Angry Jurors” is in following the arguments, the new rounds of votes and the ultimate outcome that you will hear when you see it at Antrim Playhouse in Wesley Hills. It all takes place in a jury room in New York City in 1958.
Directed by Susan Binder and produced by Maureen Lambrix, I rate “Twelve Angry Jurors” three out of four stars. Good theatre.
The original play and “Best Picture” Academy Award winning movie is titled “Twelve Angry Men,” but adaptations with female jurors usually go by the title “Twelve Angry Jurors.” For tickets visit antrimplayhouse.com.