Conflict in Court

Aug 16 2022 | By More

★★★★☆     Guilty pleasure

Hill Street Theatre (Venue 41): Fri 5 – Sun 28 Aug 2022
Review By Greg Holstead

Nicely timed against the backdrop of recent verdicts in the Depp vs Heard trial in the US and the Wagatha Christie trial in the UK, Edinburgh Little Theatre bring Liam Rudden’s well-observed Conflict in Court to Hill Street Theatre for August.

Throw in, for good measure, a free pie and a pint, a chance to be part of the jury, alternate outcomes, red herrings and unexpected plot twists and you get an appetising lunchtime dish. Mix in a well-rehearsed and talented cast, cook for just over an hour and Hey Presto you have a wee gem!

Conflict in Court

Paul Murray directs his smorgasbord of acting talent around this tight airless 70-seater with minimal set, with military precision and minimal distraction. Just as any court should be, it is uncomfortable, claustrophobic and not a place you wish to dwell for long.

Michael Daviot gives just the right amount of slime to the Tory MP for Morningside whose life has been thrown into chaos by the Daily Globe’s kiss-and-tell expose of his romp with a rent boy half his age.

Daviot is certainly watchable, and listenable – his sonorous voice and English public schoolboy accent give believability to his Tory MP status. I is hard for him to be a likeable character to the majority of the jury. Therein lies the first truth of any Court: the jury will carry prejudices.

Alan Ireby looks like he has been exhumed especially for his role as the long-toothed judge, with great, magisterial boredom and ‘Get on with it!’ exasperation. He keeps Sean Calvey and Hazel Murray on their toes as the Defence and Prosecution lawyers fighting over the £500K sought in damages for libel by the MP.

up close and personal

Murray in particular is not afraid to get up close and personal with the jury in what is a visceral performance. Herein lies the second truth: the art of the use of persuasive language and quality of acting can be the difference between freedom and incarceration, life or death.

Glamour-pus Emma Lindsay is a treat to some eyes as the big-haired, brightly coloured and shellack coated Editor of the Daily Globe. Pouting and fluttering, clearly a nervous debutante to legal wranglings, but with the talents to sway at least half the jury. Probably more.

Central to this piece, and ever present, Kirsty Wardhaugh as the Court Usher is the gel between scenes. You can see her relishing her power as the voice of the court, but also her boredom of this antiquated and ritualised ceremony. Perhaps a little more confidence in this role would help, although maybe this is a recent move up in the Usher’s career, but she directs the deliberations and cross-examinations well; helping to maintain the energy and pace towards a conclusion.

A most enjoyable hour: mince or macaroni? beer or water? guilty or not guilty? you decide…

Running time: One hour and 5 minutes (no interval)
Hill Street Theatre (Dunedin Stage), 19 Hill Street, EH2 3JP (Venue 41)
Friday 5 – Sunday 28 August 2022
Daily: 12:10
Tickets and details: Book here.

Edinburgh Little Theatre website:
Facebook: @Edinburghlittletheatre
Twitter: @edlittletheatre


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