The stage is transformed into a noble courthouse, where the Presiding Judge (Tanya Moodie) enters to explain to the audience, or the jury, the structure of the trial. Each audience member is given a number pad to make their final vote once they’ve heard the evidence. From then on, both Prosecuting Counsel Nelson (Emma Fielding) and Defense Counsel Biegler (Forbes Masson) battle over the ethical conundrum of killing a few to save many in hopes of swaying the jury.
The trouble, however, is that a real courtroom is not very exciting. It gets weighed down by procedure, repetition and regulations, and Terror suffers for it. John Lightbody’s brilliantly expressionless performance as witness Christian Lauterbach starts strong, but the pace soon falls to a sluggish speed and languishes right up to the intermission. The offer to audiences to participate is half-hearted, only allowing us a say in the final minutes of the show. When the verdict is given, a jolt of energy flies through the room as the conflicting opinions become known. That conflict is where Terror could really pack a punch, but it is sadly left unexplored.
It is of interest that battlelines are drawn by gender, with the women being on the prosecution and the men acting as the defence. Fielding as Counsel Nelson is excellent; she’s a controlled and confident woman, the kind who are often perceived by men who deem them a threat as intimidating and aggressive.
Terror at the Lyric Hammersmith is an intriguing experiment and shows how different forms of theatre can unearth opinions and stimulate conversation. Ultimately, however, this courtroom drama requires much more dramatic impact to truly transform the theatre.
|What||Terror, Lyric Hammersmith review|
Lyric Square, King St, W6 0QL | MAP
|Nearest tube||Hammersmith (Hammersmith & City line) (underground)|
14 Jun 17 – 15 Jul 17, 7:30 PM – 10:00 PM
|Price||£15 - £35|
|Website||Click here for more information|