Written by Reginald Rose; Directed by Christopher Haydon

Garrick Theatre, London, until 1 March

The question of whether and how a jury should decide a person’s fate is brought to the fore again with this re-telling of Reginald Rose’s highly acclaimed courtroom drama.

The idea that a 16-year-old boy could have been sent to his death based on prejudices and personal issues is a frightening one. Thanks to juror eight (Martin Shaw), everyone is forced to rethink their decisions following extensive unpicking of the evidence (which raises alarming concerns about the defendant’s lawyer, but let’s not go down that route).

Rose was inspired to write a script after serving as a juror in a manslaughter case. Most will know the story from watching the excellent film adaptation starring Henry Fonda, which garnered Oscar nominations for best film, best adapted screenplay for Rose and best director for Sidney Lumet.

Set entirely in one room, the level of intensity captured so well on screen was slightly more difficult to evoke in the theatre. If only I could have been as close to the jurors as the photographer who took the picture above. That said, director Christopher Haydon and designer Michael Pavelka do a superb job in making use of the entire stage, highlighting its physical constraints – and thus the sense of claustrophobia for the jurors – while allowing the audience to really get to know each character.

Having watched some of their excellent TV work, I was particularly looking forward to seeing Shaw (first he was Judge John Deed, now he’s a juror, perhaps he could play a high street solicitor for his next legal role?) and Robert Vaughn (The Man from UNCLE and, more recently, Hustle) who plays juror nine. So credit to the rest of the cast, who mesmerise with powerful performances, particularly Jeff Fahey (juror three) and Miles Richardson (juror 10).

Monidipa Fouzder is a Gazette sub-editor