Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Maltz Jupiter Theatre: Twelve Angry Men (2 reviews)

The Maltz Jupiter Theatre Production of the classic courtroom drama Twelve Angry Men opened on November 2, 2010.
What seems like an open-and-shut murder case becomes a twisted puzzle of prejudice and intrigue. Twelve jurors are corralled in a room for the duration of their deliberation. As justice is tested and evidence weighed, the entire jury is forced to look past the show of the courtroom to unearth the shocking truth. Faced with playing the hangmen, these dozen men first must face themselves. Twelve Angry Men is a timeless masterpiece and a great examination of our judicial process.
Frank Galati directed a cast that included John Arnold, Michael Beecher, David Breitbarth, James Clarke, Patrick Clear, Brandon Dahlquist, Matt DeCaro, David Howard, Doug Jones, Michael Mahler, Tyler Ravelson, Barry Tarrallo, and Martin Yurek.
 



Hap Erstein reviewed for The Palm Beach Post:
...two-time Tony Award-winning director Frank Galati and a fine ensemble cast... dust the cobwebs off the stage script and demonstrate that this histrionic civics lesson still has plenty of theatrical punch.
There is not a weak link in the cast, but the relative importance of the characters does mean that there are definite standouts. As Juror No. 8, the role that Henry Fonda played in the 1957 film, Patrick Clear underplays ably without ever giving up his control of the ongoing debate. The more adamant forces for conviction get the showier roles, and Douglas Jones impresses as the most overtly prejudiced juror and James Clarke is riveting as a father who cannot separate his conflict with his own son from that of the defendant and his alleged victim.

The production’s design aids the period atmosphere, from Russell Metheny’s institutional jury room to Mara Blumenfield’s formal attire to the subtly receding lighting by James Sale as night descends.
Bill Hirschman reviewed for the South Florida Theater Review:
...in Friday’ night’s well-executed revival at Maltz Jupiter Theatre, Reginald Rose’s drama 12 Angry Men never feels na├»ve or dated, only reflective of an era before CNN and Fox News’ screechfests. And we ought to be sadder for it.
Galati has drawn solid if not especially showy performances in the style of kitchen-sink naturalism, reflecting the work’s origin as a live one-hour television drama
This production thrives for another strange reason: All but one cast member hail from Sarasota and Galati’s Chicago. So none of these faces are recognizable. Their anonymity makes them instantly believable as human beings, not actors we saw in another show last spring... Which is not to undercut the credit due this cast. Every last actor creates a full-blooded characterization true to Rose’s script, but completely different from previous interpretation.
...the real engine of the evening is the vibrant performance of Asolo actor James Clarke as the father unable to separate his own pain at a failed relationship with his son from the strife between the accused young man and his father. Clarke’s antagonistic energy propels the play anytime it threatens to slow down. Also notable are David S. Howard as the insightful elderly juror and John Sterling Arnold as the recent immigrant who is outraged that his new countrymen might shortchange the system for less-than-noble purposes.
Twelve Angry Men plays at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre through this Sunday, November 14.

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