‘Twelve Angry Men’ Mean One Happy Audience (Solares Hill)

‘Twelve Angry Men’ Mean One Happy Audience (Solares Hill)

Posted Sun, Dec 20, 2009 in Reviews

Without a reasonable doubt, it’s safe to say that the Waterfront Playhouse is guilty of beginning its 70th season with a killer performance of “Twelve Angry Men.”

Opening on Thursday night under the direction of Danny Weathers, the 90-minute play was strung together so seamlessly that an intermission was not warranted. Nor would it have been appreciated. Walking into the old stone theater, we were lured under the looming ceiling of Michael Boyer’s incredible set and locked into the drama surrounding jurors in a New York courthouse one hot summer night.

Written by Reginald Rose and set in 1957, “Twelve Angry Men” is about a frustrated jury that must decide the fate of a teenage boy accused of murdering his father.

Some of the jurors take their time with this decision, since a teen’s life dangles in their hands, while others are anxious to reach a verdict and get on with their own lives.

Having sat through three days of testimony and hearing from several witnesses, the men march on stage where the performance and their deliberation begins. Equipped with working plumbing and a New York City skyline, the set was as stunning as the actors’ attire and the ambition of the production as a whole. The lighting, the rainstorm, the general ambiance were an impressive backdrop for this impressive cast of characters.

All eyes were glued to the stage as the 12 personalities gradually introduced the opinions, fears and flaws of the jury. The energy of the actors ebbed and flowed as intended, their carefully memorized lines were delivered with ease and their places on stage cunningly choreographed.

The instigator of thought, the only juror with an initial vote of not guilty, was number 8, masterfully portrayed by Bob Bowersox. With a clear, concise, calm demeanor, Bowersox convinced the audience and eventually the rest of the jury that perhaps the teen did not commit murder. Perhaps the witnesses were wrong or confused. Perhaps there was another suspect that had not been considered. Perhaps a person’s life is worth, at the very least, a few moments of consideration.

Quincy Perkins played juror number 5, a soft-spoken young man who grew up in the slums and is no stranger to violence. His diction and energy went from nervous to confident as his character began to convince other jurors to form an opinion of “not guilty.”

Kyle Caskey, juror number 2, garnered plenty of laughs as a nasal nerd. Memorable was Tony Konrath as juror number 11, a European refugee on a quest for justice. Mike McCabe was remarkably effective in an almost unrecognizable get-up. And George Murphy was outstanding as the blowhard juror.

Involved in Key West theater for 30 years now, Tom Murtha, dynamic as juror number three, is an arrogant antagonist, adamant from the beginning that the defendant is guilty of murder — until his temper flares and his own baggage surfaces.

New to the Waterfront Playhouse is Brian Furlong, juror number 10, who had no trouble commanding the stage as an openly bitter and prejudiced man. Juror number 12, played by Joe McMurray, was another arrogant member of the jury who let his anxiousness to return to his advertising career override his sense of diplomacy.

From start to finish on opening night, each one of the talented actors had the full attention of the audience. The compelling courtroom drama was not interrupted by one sneeze, not a single cough.

The verdict is in … let the season begin.

“Twelve Angry Men” at Waterfront Playhouse in Mallory Square runs through Jan. 9 with an 8 p.m. curtain call. Box office is at 294-5015.


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