12 Incompetent Men (and Women!)

Mon 8th – Sat 13th August 2011


Rebecca Tatlow

at 08:36 on 9th Aug 2011



Never has there been such a strange trial as the one which these '12 Incompetent Men (and Women!)' find themselves embroiled. They are the jury chosen to decide if a man, whose life is not on the line, is guilty of stealing six cats. All the evidence suggests he is and since he has confessed in court there seems no room for deliberation - until Juror #8 decides that sometimes the most obvious explanation is way off mark.

It must be pointed out that this play has two alternate casts of which I saw the first. The young actors performed well; they drew out laughs without affecting the pace and invested the show with a dynamism that ensured the audience's attention. Juror #3 is played by Mikey Gray in every performance and she is a force to be reckoned with on stage as #8's principal opponent. Gray brings enough sass and sensitivity to her character to prevent alienation but I felt stressing her out-of-court obligations more, upon their initial introduction, would help make the play's climax more effective.

One moment which particularly stood out for me was the reinactment of the neighbours witness statement by Jurors #1 and 8. It was endearing as well as outrageous and the subsequent expected fallout didn't disappoint. Often however, Jurors #2 and 9 stole many of the scenes. Neither character was naturalistic in style but this just made them all the more engaging. #9 was undoubtably one of the creepiest creations I've ever encountered. However, the greatest joke in the show involves the air conditioning.

The only slight disappointment occurred when it was revealed that the odd but amusing voice being adopted by Juror #1 was meant to be a British accent. However, this didn't detract from the overall slickness of the production. There were many times when the entire audience were overtaken by mirth and it is the cheeky attitude with which they approach the subject matter which makes '12 Incompetent Men (and Women!)' stand out from the crowd. As you hear the evidence, you are invited to decide exactly how to give the infamous cat-napper justice.


May Anderson

at 08:59 on 9th Aug 2011



Turning the concept of the 1957 film ‘12 Angry Men’ on his head this play envisions a similar group of misfit jurors more concerned with getting back to their lives than really examining whether an innocent man might be sent to jail. A meditation on the justice system and individual apathy the 1957 film explored the value twelve jurors placed on a man’s life.

But in this production there’s a lot more fun to be had: instead of deliberating over a murder and a man’s life imprisonment the trial centres on a cat defiler and the much less foreboding sentence of three to six months in jail. Princeton Day School’s have chosen the ideal script in ’12 Incompetent Men (and Women)’ for a student production – entertaining, ludicrous and not to taxing, they’ve managed to deliver a light and enjoyable theatrical treat where other student productions have floundered under the weight of their own seriousness.

The twelve jurors are a uniformly bizarre bunch; from the foreman who feels the need to put on a fairly inexact approximation of a British accent every time she gets excited to the enraged American patriot whose casual racism extends to calling a clearly Caucasian businessman ‘Ho Chi Minh’ because he becomes convinced that there is an Asian element to his features. This rag-tag bunch is responsible for meting out justice and they seem to be coming to the most sensible conclusion until one juror takes upon himself to prove that there is reasonable doubt – employing a stuffed cat, Jurassic Park and hell of a lot of nerve – in what is ostensibly an open-and-shut case. The ensemble varies in its quality but the Italian American couple are a particularly strong addition to this madcap bunch, bringing believability to a play that consistently threatens to descend into farce.

Some of the jokes were clearly mores suited to an American audience and this British reviewer definitely felt a couple of punch lines fly right over her head but that didn’t spoil the fun. The set and costuming of ’12 Angry Men’ were delightfully done and exceeded the standard I would expect from a student production. Fun, whimsical and finely done ’12 Incompetent Men (and Women)’ is a solid slice of light relief that is well-worth seeing.



Bruce McCurdy; 11th Aug 2011; 14:28:51


A totally awesome theatrical experience! Conor Hassett, the handsome Italian, was by far the very best thing this tremendous production had to offer.

I understand that Holywood is already knocking at his door.


The English Accent was outstanding. You Brits should be a little less thin skinned.

Eric Powers; 18th Aug 2011; 05:57:27

Correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding was the British accent was an imitation of an American character trying to do a British accent, not an American actor trying to do a British accent

Peter Powers; 31st Aug 2011; 15:49:18

Hysterical! 5 stars. And I thought the British accent was supposed to be horrible...that was the point, right? An amateur American actress trying to do an accent...simple enough?

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