In arguably their strongest performance, Theatre Time Productions’ “Twelve Angry Men” delivers a powerful, passionate and provocative interpretation of this unforgettable 1950s drama. In fact, producer Judy Vincent had her hands full on opening night, hunting for additional chairs for the bustling, overflow crowd.
Using a theatre-in-the-round arrangement, the long juror’s table is angled dead center. Director Kevin C. Vincent is Juror #8. As the lone dissenting vote, he moves the story relentlessly forward. His soft-spoken, intelligent delivery ranks high among his theatrical successes.
Theatre veteran Bernard Bosio (Juror #3) gives an intense, raging performance as a regular guy whose own anger and personal demons have outweighed his good sense. The closing moments between Kevin and Bernard’s characters are deeply poignant.
The remaining ten jurors are riveting as well. They disengage from their “average Joe” personas, revealing deep convictions that are anything but average. Ray Bendana (Juror #6) is a gentle giant whose intimidating exterior belies his genuine compassion for the weaker jurors. Johnny Dee Damato (Juror #9) with his flowing grey beard ultimately speaks with the good wisdom of his years. Marty Edelstein (Juror #11), is an “old school” artisan whose heavy European accent does not diminish his outspoken courage against the bullying jurors.
Jim Haines as Juror #10 capably combines his vocal and physical actions to unwittingly confirm that he is the biggest bigot in the room. Jef Lawrence (Juror #7) is in a hurry to vote. By story’s end, he proves there is substance beneath his superficial small talk. Eric Leeb (Juror #4) is excellent as the stock broker who offers logical, controlled explanations for his opinions.
Jim Percival (Juror #12) is likable despite his many wisecracks. Michael Pichardo (Juror #2) gains our admiration as he summons his strength to speak his mind. Tim Reifschneider (Juror #1/Foreman) regains his own composure despite strong personal opinions. Ultimately a verdict is reached. But will it be guilty or not guilty? Paul Robilotto (Juror #5), as a kid from the slums, fuses an unlikely combination of anger and worldly wisdom. Kudos as well to Sharon Levine (stage manager) and John Palmieri (lights and sound).
Theatre Time Productions performs at 54-02 217 Street (Colonial Church of Bayside). Call 347-358-8102, surf to www.theatretime.org or like them on Facebook. As always, save me a seat on the aisle.