Denis Lill – Twelve Angry Men stage tour – first night reviews

Press reviews of the first night performance of the touring stage version of the classic juror drama Twelve Angry Men have included praise for Denis Lill’s striking portrayal of Juror Number 10.

Twelve Angry Men - theatrical tour - 2015

Denis Lill – more familiar as the pipe-smoking, kindly surgeon in TV’s The Royal – is quite magnificent as the bigoted, outspoken and argumentative Juror 10

Barry Dix, Get West London, 29 January 2015

Denis Lill attacks the role of the bigoted fool from hell with everything he has got – although absolutely no chance for light and shade has been provided here by the author.

Francis Batt, Slough and South Bucks Observer, 28 January 2015

Twelve Angry Men - theatrical tour - 2015

Twelve Angry Men, arguably the finest example of its genre, brings together a punchy, fast-moving script, acting of the highest quality and a remarkably realistic set and visual effects to create a quite stunning production.

Tom Conti brings with him to the Theatre Royal, Windsor, many of the cast and crew from the record-breaking production of the play which won so many plaudits during its West End run. He is becoming a familiar face at the venue, returning to Windsor for the third time in little more than a year.

Twelve Angry Men, inspired by the real-life jury experiences of writer Reginald Rose in Manhattan in the early 1950s, was originally a TV play, adapted into an Oscar-nominated film starring Henry Fonda. The stage version was first seen in London in 1964.

After completing its run The Theatre Royal, Windsor (27 January-7 February 2015), Twelve Angry Men begins a national tour, starting in Coventry on 9 February 2015 and concluding in Glasgow on 27 June 2015 (although further dates may follow). Tickets are on sales for venues across the country.

UPDATE, 24 Feb 2015: A review of the play’s run at The King’s Theatre, Edinburgh in the Edinburgh Evening News (24 February) includes further praise for the show and for Lill’s performance.

Tom Conti delivers a smooth performance in the lead role of the lone challenger who cajoles the others into returning a unanimous not guilty verdict, building in intensity from perhaps over-played brooding isolation at the start to powerfully-projected frustrated fury at the climax.

Pick of the other jurors, and of some dodgy American accents, was Denis Lill as the prejudiced garage-owner, who is uncomfortably believable as the closest thing 1950s New York would have had to a UKIP voter.

So too is Andrew Lancel a stand-out as the troubled last-angry-man-standing, whose portrayal of a father estranged from his son is the emotional high-point of the show.

UPDATE, 25 Feb 2015: Another review of the Edinburgh run, is published today in The Herald:

Conti’s world-weary understatement as the play opens is a deceptive foil to his fellow jurors as he quietly but determinedly changes everybody’s mind. While unexpected gales of gallows humour ripple throughout, it is the ferocious bluster of Denis Lill’s Juror 10 and especially Andrew Lancel’s fierce turn as Juror 3, lashing out at his own estranged son by proxy, that defines the production.

Lucy Fleming and Simon Williams at ‘Taken at Midnight’ after-party


LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 26: Lucy Fleming (L) and Simon Williams attend an after party following the press night performance of ‘Taken At Midnight‘ at The Institute of Directors on January 26, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Getty Images)

Big Finish’s Matt Fitton shortlisted for award for Survivors audio script

Scriptwriter and script editor Matt Fitton’s story for “Revelation” (the opening episode of the first series of new Survivors audio adventures from Big Finish) has been shortlisted for an award.

After being selected from the ‘long list’ of contenders, “Revelation” has now been shortlisted in the ‘Best Online / Non-Broadcast’ category of the 2014 BBC Audio Awards.

The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on Sunday 1 February 2015 held at the Radio Theatre at BBC Broadcasting House in London, and hosted by Helen Boaden, Director of BBC Radio.

Last year, Big Finish won an award in the the same category for Doctor Who: Dark Eyes. Big Finish is in the running for a second award this year. Alex Jordan has also been nominated in the ‘Best Actor or Actress in a Debut Role’, for his performance as Captain Robert Walton in Big Finish’s Frankenstein.

Big Finish - Survivors - series one - cover design
Big Finish – Survivors – series one – cover design

Bernard Kay (Sanders in Mad Dog) dies aged 86

Bernard Kay - Mad Dog

Bernard Kay (who memorably played the role of Sanders in the third series Survivors episode Mad Dog) has died at the age of 86.

Kay was found deceased at his home on 29 December 2014, though details of his passing have only been published today.

In 1977, Kay arrived on location in Derbyshire to record his role in Mad Dog only days after the death of his wife Patricia Haines, who passed away aged 45. Mad Dog director Tristan de Vere Cole later recalled: “She had literally just died the week before shooting. And he arrived.. and I had said to him ‘look Bernard, we can leave your scenes.’ He said ‘no, no — I want to work.’ So we stayed up, when he’d arrived that first night at the hotel, until three o’clock playing backgammon.” Come the next morning: “he did his job, he was so professional.”

Kay enjoyed a long and varied career on the small screen, in film and on stage. On TV, he appeared in Z Cars, Doctor Who, The Professionals, Coronation Street and Foyle’s War amongst many other productions.

Toby Hadoke recalls of Kay’s work: “He was one of those superb understated but versatile actors that we don’t seem to have any more. He never gave a bad performance. He was greatly admired by his peers. His sense of humour was combative but there wasn’t any meanness in him.”

News of Kay’s passing appears in today’s (1 January 2015) The Mirror, Manchester Evening News, The Courier and The Daily Mail.

EDIT – 2 January 2015: Listen to Tony Hadoke’s original podcast interview with Bernard Kay and its sequel on the Big Finish site.