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.

2 thoughts on “Denis Lill – Twelve Angry Men stage tour – first night reviews”

  1. I saw the first night of Twelve Angry Men at the King’s Theatre in Edinburgh last night.

    It’s a dense piece of writing which made a great film. But it is hard to generate and sustain that same tension on an open stage. But the cast did a very good job of it, despite the presence in the audience of the usual bunch of stupid people who think that every theatre outing is to have a good laugh. I had a cackler right behind me in Row D and I could have cheerfully strangled her.

    People who can’t handle dramatic tension should be tagged and banned for life.

    It makes me rather ashamed of my fellow theatre goers and I wonder what the cast thought of it.

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