Compelling. That is how I would sum up Rough Justice in one word.
I went to the first of the show’s six-night run at the Theatre Royal Brighton last night (Monday, October 8) and thought it was the best play I had seen in ages.
Written by Terence Frisby, and starring the ever-popular Tom Conti, it’s a gripping legal drama that places the audience in the position of the jury.
Conti plays James Highwood, a well-known television journalist who faces the charge of murdering his baby son.
He chooses to defend himself in court, hoping to only be convicted of a charge of manslaughter.
Along the way, his insistence on representing himself irritates the judge (Royce Mills) and almost causes the trial to collapse.
But there’s plenty of twists and turns along the way, ensuring you never quite know which way it’s going to go.
After the verdict is revealed, the cast ask the audience to vote on what they think the verdict should have been, yielding some surprising results.
Rough Justice is clever and slick, with fast-paced, realistic dialogue. And having sat in on many a trial in my years in this job, I was pleased to see it very much reflected the atmosphere of a crown court.
The fact there were only two sets, the court room, and the stark holding cell where some of Highwood’s greatest revelations are made, made the piece unfussy and all the better for it.
With an accomplished cast, great acting and a wonderful and thought-provoking script, Rough Justice comes with my highest recommendation.
For tickets, costing £12-£27, call 0844 871 7650 or visit www.atgtickets.com/brighton