Jury Play


Joyce McMillan, The Scotsman

an exciting, witty and thrillingly open-ended piece of drama about what we mean by justice, and how we can achieve something closer to it; presented with all the flair, elegance and sense of spectacle that is Grid Iron’s hallmark.

Thom Dibdin, The Stage

The show is a prime example of theatre as a driver of social change and a place for popular debate…The trial, presided by John Bett in particularly dry mode as the judge and overseen by the perfectly pernickety and officious Sean Hay as the court Macer, is not courtroom drama, however. As the days whir by and turn into months, Mary Gapinski and Kirstin Murray’s sharply supercilious lawyers for the defence and prosecution rehearse their arguments, ad nauseum. The jurors, by now subsumed into the performance, becoming increasingly, bored, alienated and disassociated from the proceedings. If the first half belongs to Gapinski and Murray, Bett steps out to take control of his court in the second. Playing on planted juror Helen Mackay’s inner fears, he rearranges the court, bringing an altogether lighter, more transparent and less combative style – while examining the baggage, both metaphorical and literal, the jurors bring with them…a fascinating and provocative event, not to mention an object lesson in how to handle an immersive audience.

Neil Cooper, The Herald

an eminently playful set of exchanges between the seven-strong cast that attempt to breakdown hierarchical structures propagated by Mary Gapinski and Kirstin Murray’s barristers in order to make more everyday sense, both for those on trial and the bored and distracted jurors. The end result is fascinatingly drawn out fanfare for the common man and woman that puts the judicial system in the dock and finds it wanting.’

Justine Blundell, Edinburgh Guide.com

Making a piece of theatre as dull as a day in a courtroom while maintaining an audience’s engagement is not easy to pull off. It helps that John Bett, as the Judge, is highly entertaining even when delivering ponderous tediousness, but this intriguing play gets you thinking and raises important questions for which there are, as yet, no answers.

Becca Inglis, The Wee Review

Grid Iron keep up a meticulous attention to detail throughout. Prior to the performance, we receive an email inviting us to court and detailing a dress code. When we arrive, we walk through a metal detector and are handed a guide to jury service (or, the play’s programme). Pre-recorded dialogue gives us an insight into each juror’s thoughts, most of whom are preoccupied with worries about childcare, cigarette breaks, or the rare macabre details that break up an otherwise long and boring case. These voiceovers drown out the barristers’ speeches, showing how by not catering to the jury’s needs the evidence presented risks being missed or misinterpreted.
Projections on the back of the stage demonstrate how our digital age warps and complicates the legal process…We see how in a society where we are constantly connected to the news by our devices, contempt of court is unavoidable. The legal system is in this way not fit for purpose in the modern world.