This Is Your Trial | Review by Steve Bennett
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This Is Your Trial

Note: This review is from 2014

Review by Steve Bennett

As an improvised courtroom showdown, the tone of This Is Your Trial can be set by the audience. Or in the case of this Saturday night performance just a small handful of them, a barely coherent coterie of drunk, lairy lads intent on sharing their – shudder – ‘banter’ with the room.

It’s to the credit of the cast that the situation was contained as well as it was, but the group’s presence was a contributory factor to what became a bawdy, rough-around-the-edges late-night gig – where any intellectual cut and thrust of legal debate was lost to crowd control and Knockabout exchanges.

‘Clerk of the court’ Trevor Lock tackled the troublesome group head-on, by calling one of their number to be the first defendant, accused of ‘smuggling bellends into a nice place with nice people’. Under the watchful eye of judge Tim FitzHigham, the guest QCs must argue the case for the prosecution and defence before the jury – or audience – reach their verdict.

John Hastings and Jess Fostekew donned the barristers’ wigs tonight, and while neither stand-up demonstrated the slickest improv skills, both got a fair share of laughs. Hastings straight out of the gate by unplugging his client’s microphone, to save him from implicating himself with his unfunny drunken babblings; while Fostekew managed to make ‘flirting’ a valid grounds for objection, deployed several times.Fitzhigham’s breeding gives him an inherent air of authority to keep proceedings very roughly on track – but there were indulgences on all sides, creating a very loose show.

The other cases heard in this session involved a man grassed up by his mates and subsequently charged with driving on Edinburgh’s tramlines, and a well-spoken girl in the front row accused of assault by wine ‘under the influence of a privileged background’ after accidentally spilling some over her friend in the next seat.

Ultimately, though, despite the smart structure there’s not much of substance here; it’s essentially a mix of crowd-work and comics interrupting each other with funny but throwaway insults. That’s surely the result of it being an 11.20pm show – it would surely be a different beast entirely mid-afternoon.

Review date: 25 Aug 2014
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Assembly George Square

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