A disgraced corporate hotshot from London returns to the rural hometown and friends that she left behind. One is in trouble and only Alex Stone—a forgettable Katherine Rodden—can save the day. In doing so, she is forced to confront the past she abandoned long ago.
Sound familiar, like an episode of Midsomer Murders? Jon Gracey’s script is comparable to any 1990s drama series. And it’s just as easy to anticipate the outcome of this production too. The story is a predictable, desperate attempt to glean laughs.
The action for Courtroom Play unsurprisingly unfolds in the courtroom. Thom Tuck is a stereotypical judge, desperate for an open and shut case so he can nap or drink. Tuck gives the strongest performance, with some understanding of comic timing. Benita de Wit’s overall direction lacks finesse, instructing all the actors to ham it up as much as possible – every performance is a caricature with little depth or substance. Holding up placards to instruct the audience on how to react is a step too far.
At the end, disparate facts are hurriedly thrown together to provide an ingenious twist to the tale. And surprise surprise, the protagonist makes peace with her hometown, resolving to stay and help fight the good fight. Gracey’s writing simply runs out of steam.
Courtroom Play is predictable and drab from start to finish. This story of a cold career bitch who remembers her roots is in no way unpleasant, but it’s uninventive and uninspiring.