There were a dozen opinionated, grumpy and often prejudiced men fighting for two hours at Torquay’s Princess Theatre last night - and no I don’t mean the patrons!

Directed by Christopher Haydon, Twelve Angry Men is based on the Reginald Rose movie and set in 1950s America, where the story follows an all-male jury panel who set about deliberating the fate of a 16-year-old boy on trial accused of murdering his dad.

But what appears to be an open and shut case soon becomes a huge topic of debate as prejudices and preconceived ideas about the accused, the trial, and each other, slowly turns the tide of debate as often as the slowly revolving table at its centre.

Jason Merrells of Emmerdale, Waterloo Road and Happy Valley fame and  Michael Greco of Eastenders and soon to be starring in the next Hungergames Movie, lead a star-studded cast who produced a powerful, flawless performance. It was like watching 12 lead men in one show! And a special mention to Jeffrey Harmer who stepped into the role of Juror 3 to produce an excellent well-oiled performance!

This is no musical, although the atmospheric sound of the underscore paired with the second half thunderstorm - complete with convincing ‘rain’ effects on the windows, created a palpable mood fitting for the convincing set design and subject matter - no mean feat considering the whole play is in one room with no costume change, making it all the more impressive.

At times the audience was so captivated you could have heard a pin drop during silent moments on stage interspersed with moments of comedy to lighten the somewhat sombre mood with a very powerful moment at the end involving jackets - cryptic I know but believe me it will stay with you.

With plenty of plot twists to please the most avid crime fan’s thinking, Twelve Angry Men is a thoughtful, clever piece of theatre that proves simplicity still works perfectly!

The show runs at the Princess Theatre until Saturday  April 6.

Reviewer: Neil Edwards  Rating: 4.5 stars