Silence In Court
New Town Theatre
Many people often wonder what they would do if they ended up on a jury. In this play, Silence in Court, they provide an experience that goes some way to show how that might feel, albeit with notable problems in this case, the first and most pertinent of these being that for anyone with the slightest inkling of the legal process, the entire affair is a shambolic mess of incorrect procedures and legal misteps. Taking for granted that despite the Scottish cast, and setting, these are the English Court procedures and styles, adapted for stage entertainment, the rest is a good example of a decent concept gone fairly awry.
Thirteen audience members are asked to sit in the Jury seats provided while a mock rape trial ensues. Their evidence is said to be purely circumstantial and the jury must weight their decision on the basis of the complainant and the accused giving evidence under examination, before being allowed to ask questions themselves. The cast aquit themselves well enough, with some very good work done by the accused rapist and his alleged victim. The problem comes when the audience are put in position to make a decision and talk amongst themselves. In a longer play with a sturdier case, this might have proven interesting rather than the shambolic argumentation on display here. That added to the definite sense that whatever the answer given happened to be, the result was inevitably going to be wrong. A nice idea, poorly written.
Reviewer: Graeme Strachan