Between 22nd-25th March, Nottingham New Theatre summoned one and all for jury duty, to decide whether Leonard Vole was guilty or innocent, in their gripping adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Witness for the Prosecution. Amy Child reviews.
The jury wasn’t out on the verdict for this play: it was fantastic. To begin with, I want to stress that it had one of the strongest casts of any of the NNT shows I’ve seen. Every actor shone in their role, from the major characters to the minor ones. However, there are three performances I’d particularly like to applaud.
The first is Tom Turner as Leonard. He was fantastic at making the audience sympathise with his character, and invest in the outcome of his trial, which was pivotal to the success of the play. He also handled the emotion of the more intense scenes expertly.
Secondly, I was really impressed by Michael McClean as the lawyer Mr Myers, as he brought a natural authority and gravitas to the role (a glimpse of his future, perhaps, considering that he’s a law student). The scene where Myers confronts Leonard before the interval was my favourite in the show, largely because of how well it was acted.
Thirdly, Stella Liu’s confident performance as Romaine was endlessly entertaining; though she wasn’t the one on trial, she certainly had the habit of stealing scenes.
I was maybe a little too invested in trying to work out the clues
However, the fantastic acting was only part of what made this show so great. The staging was clever and creative, with the audience seated in the round (like a mock courtroom), and a witness stand emerging from the side. It was a simple concept, but I found myself fully immersed in every scene. Though there was no audience interaction, the audience definitely felt included as the jury to whom the case was being presented. As a result, I was maybe a little too invested in trying to work out the clues as the play went along. (Though, by the sound of the discussions happening during the interval, a lot of others were, too.)
Excellent lighting and sound also added to the play’s absorbing quality, and heightened the tension in all the right scenes. I could definitely feel, as well as see, when something was about to go down.
Strong performances all round
(As a side note, whoever was running the publicity/social media for this play killed it; their Instagram account is top notch.)
Overall, this was a really well-executed adaptation of a well-known play. It contained strong performances all round, and was a shining example of the standard which Nottingham New Theatre has to offer.
Featured image courtesy of Alex Watkin. Permission to use granted to Impact. No changes were made to this image.
In-article image courtesy of @nottinghamnewtheatre via @instagram.com . No changes were made to this image.
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