BWW Reviews: Cherry Creek Theatre Presents an Exemplary Male Ensemble in 12 ANGRY MEN!
Cherry Creek Theatre presents the courtroom classic 12 ANGRY MEN (Adapted by Sherman Sergel and based on the television movie by Reginald Rosel) playing now through March 30th. A 19-year-old man has just stood trial for the fatal stabbing of his father. It looks like an open-and-shut case-until one of the jurors begins opening the others' eyes to the facts. With each juror revealing their own character as the various testimonies are re-examined, the murder is re-enacted and a new murder threat is born before their eyes! Tempers get short, arguments grow heated, and the jurors become 12 angry men.
"He's not guilty until we say he's guilty"..
If it pleases the court, I would like to keep this brief....insert obvious court puns....and now to closing arguments...
Not much more can be said about this show other than is absolutely outstanding and that is abundantly apparent from the very successful sold-out run that they have been having. This script has always been one of my favorites and is a profound work of dramatic literature that analyzes the "trial by jury" process with a touch of Matlock, Perry Mason, and Murder She Wrote. The best thing about this production was this talented ensemble that worked together so well and made the show such a success. My only critic (and this is totally being nitpicky) was the presentation of the evidence and although I thought the knife in question should be bagged and tagged, the handling of the evidence made for a very nice, dramatic moment. The verdict is in....this show us a hit!
Erik Sandvold and Jude Moran really raised the bar (ha ha. ...get.it) as the protagonist and antagonist of the show providing that friction that carried the plot and the intensity that drew the audience in. Erik was captivating as the man that stands alone providing enticing innocence and humble strength. On the flip side of the coin was Jude Moran who was more of a jerk and a bully to everyone. His breakdown at the end of the show was such a touching moment in the show and the audience could not take their eyes off of him! Even for these actors mesmerizing performances, this show really was a team effort and the ensemble as a whole elevated this show to the stunning work that it was. James O'Hagan-Murphy was centered and kept the plot moving; Todd Black presented good confliction and subtle humorous moments; Cris Davenport was quite dynamic and eloquent; Josh Lamb was excellent at being cocky and arrogant; Dylan Rush gave a subtle and tender performance; Brock Benson was strong as the impatient and bullheaded one; Scott Swaggart was soft and engaging; Ken Street was opinionated and controversial as the racist; Claude J Diener as the immigrant was wonderful and had a really good accent; and Kevin Lowry gave the shows naive youthfulness.
Director Bernie Cardell not only cast some of the top male talent in Denver, but was also effective in making sure the male camaraderie was there for this dramatic show. He also was effective in keeping the show full of high energy and inertia for such a small space and I especially adored his staging of the other blocking out the hateful words of the racist and that emotional and powerful ending. I also appreciated the set by designer Tobias Harding. The addition if the door and window added the confined dimension needed for this unique space and added to the intensity of the show. The costumes by Rosemary Smith featured a nice variety of suits giving each character professional diversity.
Producers Take Note: when you have this successful of a run with this many sold out shows, I would hope that either you are doing your best to extend the run for even one more weekend or have this exceptional ensemble mark their calendars for a reprisal of this fine work sometime in our near future.
Cherry Creek Theatre is resting their case in 12 ANGRY MEN and winning over audiences now through March 30th at the Shaver-Ramsey Showroom. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 6:30 p.m. For tickets or more information, contact the box office by calling 303-800-6578 or online at www.cherrycreektheatre.org. The Shaver-Ramsey Showroom is located at 2414 East 3rd Avenue in Denver, CO. Seating is limited.
PICTURED ABOVE: Erik Sandvold and Jude Moran appear courtesy of Actors' Equity
PHOTO CREDIT: Rachel D. Graham/RDG Photography
Erik Sandvold as Juror #8 and Jude Moran as Juror #3
The cast of 12 ANGRY MEN
Jude Moran and Erik Sandvold
Jude Moran as Juror #3