This painfully relevant courtroom drama will keep you talking and debating long after you leave the theatre.

Would you kill 164 innocent people if it meant saving the lives of 70,000? This is the moral and ethical dilemma in this thought provoking and painfully relevant production.

A hijacked plane is heading towards a packed stadium with obvious intent. To create maximum destruction and loss of life. Against military orders and also against the law, fighter pilot Lars Koch makes the decision to shoot down the plane killing all people on board. Now on trial for murder we the audience act as the jury. We are presented with the facts from both the prosecuting and defence council along with Koch’s own testimony. In a neat twist the audience literally decides the verdict via a little keypad – press one for guilty, two for not guilty.

We live in a time when seeing the Union Jack flying at half-mast seems normal. In the wake of terrifying and appalling acts of terror in London and Manchester there can’t be a more timely and relevant piece of theatre.

This is a very static production, however the intriguing and fascinating arguments flying backwards and forwards command our attention. Strong casting ensures compelling performances that will challenge your beliefs leaving you unsure which side of the fence you’re on.

Tanya Moodie as Presiding Judge observes her light and lofty court room with an eagle eye and commanding presence. Ashley Zhangazha as prosecuted pilot Lars Koch leans a little too much towards the dramatic however his performance is as clear and strong as his convictions. Shanaya Rafaat as the wife of one of the passengers on board gives a heart breaking account of how she had to look through the burnt and charred remains of the passengers personal belongings. This feels like a massive unapologetic play on our heart strings by the playwright however Rafaat’s underplaying of the emotion is pitch perfect. Both Emma Fielding as Prosecuting Counsel and Forbes Mason as Defence Counsel come into their own in their closing arguments and are riveting.

The audience voting may feel like a gimmick but what of that? The excitement that ran through the theatre when the time came, and the thrill of empowerment when it was announced 58% voted not guilty is something that is not experienced very often in the theatre.

Rating: 4/5

Terror plays at the Lyric until 15 July. 

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