Year: 2000

Title of the play: The Accused

Author: Jeffrey Archer

Director: Val May

Others in the Cast: Edward de Souza, Michael Feast, Rebecca Kilgarrifff, Dominic Kemp, Neil France, Tony Britton, Jeffrey Archer, Douglas Fielding, David Weston, Madhav Sharma, David Collings, Emma Davies, Gary Taylor, Richard Hodder.


Theatre and location: Theatre Royal, Windsor; Palace Theatre, Manchester; Belgrade Theatre (Main Stage), Coventry; Theatre Royal, Brighton; Churchill Theatre, Bromley; Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guilford; Theatre Royal Haymarket, London

Other productions of the same play: 

Plot summary: An interactive drama about a doctor charged with poisoning his wife. Each night, the audience must decide, based on the evidence presented, whether the defendant is guilty or innocent. Is Dr Sherwood a faithful husband or is he a ruthless, two-timing murderer? Once the audience casts its votes, the drama continues with one of two alternate endings. 

Peth’s role: Sir James Barrington QC


Under Val May' s portentous direction it comes across as a tissue of tedious contradictions. Whopping bricks, dropped by the witnesses, go unnoticed by the supposedly brilliant barristers (well played by Edward Petherbridge and Michael Feast), who also seem not to have heard of the usefulness of subpoenas. - Paul Taylor, The Independent, 6 December 2000

The rest of the cast are a pretty distinguished group of actors. The exchanges between Feast and Petherbridge are the nearest that this dinosaur of a play gets to gripping. However, even the parts written for the barristers are not realistic as there are too many jokes, too many interjections which reduces the trial system to common banter. - Lizzie Loveridge, CurtainUp

Lord Archer hardly speaks for almost two hours, with the bulk of the acting falling on the capable shoulders of Edward Petherbridge, Michael Feast and Tony Britton as the barristers and judge.
When Archer does take the stand, his performance is competent enough. And the play, although a little over-long, is sufficiently interesting to hold our attention. - Roz Laws, Birmingham Post & Mail Ltd, 2000 

Production details:

Design: Simon Higlett
Lighting Design: Vince Herbert
Sound Design: Frank Bradley for Aura

Related links:


EP with Jeffrey Archer

Original pic here


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