Players Review: Law & Order Witness for the Prosecution

So how comfortable are you with bantery preamble?

Really uncomfortable. In person I usually just end up wildly blurting out anything that comes to mind.

Maybe just stick to your name, and things like that.

Can do. Hello, I’m Aoife, one of two in third year drama. Both of us love leggings, but I’m the one with the unpronounceable second name.

And you are reviewing … ?

Hello! Yes! I am! I’m reviewing Law and Order: Witness for the Prosecution. Ooh, just writing it gives me a tingle.

‘Splain.

Okay, so here we are in week 4. This is 1 hour 40 mins long, with an interval! It’s still the Term of the Fresher. So everyone – everyone single shiny creature – in this play is a newbie to the world of Players. We have two directors incarnated in the glorious forms of Grace Nuttall and Shona McGarry. It’s their third collaboration on the Players stage as directors, and we likey-like their offerings to the gods of student drama. The cast have had basically three weeks to put this play together before they take to the stage at 5pm all this week and entertain us.

Doing good. Would a summary be agreeable?

Absolutely. So get this: basically the skinny is that this dude (Leonard Vole, what a name) has been accused of the murder most foul of a rich old lady whom he had befriended only weeks before. Leonard’s very European wife Romaine is rather sketch as to his whereabouts at the time of the murder, and it’s down to Roberts and Mayhew, the lawyers, to prove that Leonard Vole is an innocent man.

I assume there’s more to it than that.

TONS. This is the most twisty turny thing I’ve seen in ages, and obviously without giving the game about, the last 7 or so minutes are just an unending mire of twists and turns and slaps in your face with the hands of justice and truth.

Tell us a bit about the actors, there, Aoife.

With pleasure. This is a big cast of actors (12 in total, although two double, fair play) and I must say they do an admirable job, each one of them.

Let’s turn first of all to Roberts, played by Pete Danelski. From the moment he sets foot onstage, he is completely at ease there. His presence onstage is magnetic, his dialogue completely natural and his character wholly believable. We trust him entirely to champion our cause in the courtroom, and for good reason. Danelski’s performance is genuinely excellent – his banter with Mayhew is delightful and contrasts nicely with his masterful dialogue with Leonard Vole.

In Leonard Vole, we find more reason for celebration, in the form of Jack Brophy. Jack’s portrayal of Leonard shows him to be an endearing, guileless, naïve young man – he keeps the audience in the palm of his hand. Jack’s performance as Vole gives evidence towards the end of the first scene of the second act was a particularly stand-out moment – he made Leonard’s struggle genuinely affecting to watch. He can also move with the times, and his behaviour at the close of the play was just as good as his work throughout. In Jack Brophy, I think we can really see an actor with a whole lot of potential. My one criticism is that suit – you could have fit three of him in it, god love him.

Romaine Vole (if that is your real name) is played by Judith Testault. Judith does well with the difficult character she must play, maintaining that icy exterior and a saint-like patience with proceedings. Her character’s breaking point, when it comes, is at a difficult point in the play, but Judith does well with it and maintains her credibility.

A particular round of applause is in order for Nick Papadimos, who plays both Carter The Clerk and Dr. Wyatt. A fantastic character actor, Nick kept us laughing with his great physicality, voice and line delivery. I personally was blinded with tears of laughter when he came on as the doctor, and I had to try not to be too obvious about it (difficult, in the front row). Stellar work, Nick!

Mayhew, played by Brian Wade, is the kind of guy you want to have as your mate. Brian’s portrayal made Mayhew into a lovely approachable character, who would definitely wingman you on a night out. Tom Cantillon’s Detective Hearne was a remarkably self-reflexive character who kept us laughing with his very bland delivery of lines, as if he was the only character aware of how ridiculous all the proceedings of the court were. Eva O’Brien played the part of Janet Mackenzie, the housekeeper, and certainly looked the part. Her delivery was good, all it needed was a boost in confidence! I feel the same confidence boost would have done Joanne Coyle some good too – she plays Greta/Carter. As Greta she is a really sweet, dreamy character but, again, she seemed a little nervous. You go, girls!

Sophie June makes an excellently believable judge – and I really enjoyed her accent. Brian Tyrell, although playing a small role, gives it socks, and does a lovely job of interior decorating between set changes. Rachel Blennerhasset gains confidence as she goes on in playing Myers, but her nervousness translates to some confusing line deliveries – when she gains confidence she really goes for it, though, and is a pleasure to watch. Tamsin Greene-Barker, although only onstage for moments, is a real firecracker, and makes the most of her time! She is both engaging and challenging.

Whew. Do you want to take a breath after all that?

Hardly. Charli Matthews’ set is wonderful, a perfect office/court mix. I loved the little bits of Law and Order music that filtered through occasionally, well done, gang. The play itself is very engaging because your actors are great, Grace and Shona. You picked very well!

There isn’t a dull moment, I promise. The directors did a great job making a play that engages and involves you in the proceedings, and makes you laugh and makes you THINK. I left the theatre having enjoyed thoroughly. In only three weeks, you made THIS?!? It’s a high standard, entertaining piece of work, you should all be very proud.

TLDR…

5 pm, 1 hr 40 mins (with an interval), good actors, good set, twists and turns, shock ending, I think you should see it, and I enjoyed very much yes.

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