Jury Duty Live in London
Rating: ★★★★★
Venue: Theatre Deli Leadenhall, London
Cast: Eddie Andrews and Ellie Russo 

Jury Duty players are invited to join other players at a central London office location to take part in a new form of jury service. Live actors greet them and will assist, but not guide, their deliberations. Players are presented with physical evidence, sworn statements, and a computer database relating to a fictional crime. Players interrogate a Defendant several times, and are encouraged to cross-reference with the evidence. When the time is up, players are asked to vote on their verdict!

In recent years, immersive theatre has taken the UK theatre scene by storm and it's not difficult to see why. There's something very intimate and personal about interacting first-hand with the cast of a show; particularly in one like Jury Duty that's set in one room with yourself, 11 other players and a guide.

In this particular experience, we're told that remote trials have recently been introduced by the Ministry of Justice, and as jurors, we're to determine the fate of Harry Briggs. Harry Briggs is on trial for arson, murder and manslaughter. As a team, we're given reams of evidence and told to work through it before we make our informed decision. The evidence comes in many forms: on laptops, cassette tapes, emails, paper, evidence bags, a whiteboard wall - I even got a phone call during the game!

After around thirty minutes of preparation, we're given our first video call with defendant, Harry Briggs. We're open to ask any questions we've collated, and it's very much down to the group to take control, with no help from our Ministry of Justice guide at all. This may sound daunting, but it's surprising how quickly you bond with eleven other strangers and delegate different tasks and roles within the group. 

Throughout the course of the game, secrets are uncovered and there are twists and turns at every corner. It's easy to get caught up in the experience and feel as though the fate of this fictional character is of the upmost importance and you don't want to make any wrongful convictions. For this reason, we each went through every piece of evidence with a fine-tooth comb. 

Without spoilers, I was certain of my decision throughout most of the game, but there was just one piece of evidence that changed that with seconds to spare. As a majority vote, our group of jurors cracked the case and received the closure we were hoping for. However, every set of jurors will be different, and have contrasting opinions on Harry, which must make for a really interesting dynamic for the cast each performance. We were even told after the show that there are varying endings dependent on which the verdict the jury's come too!

The whole evening is carefully thought out and exceptionally clever. It's just like a real-life case in the way that it's easy to interpret pieces of evidence a certain way, and lean into one verdict more than the other. And it also comes down to how many of the secrets you can uncover - which adds an extra layer of excitement to the evening, and adds an aspect of an escape room-type vibe.

Having never had the opportunity to do jury duty, this certainly feels like the next best thing. It was a gripping evening, filled with intrigue and excitement. Jury Duty takes immersive theatre to the next level, and this exceptionally well-put together evening is not one to be missed. 

You can book tickets to Jury Duty Live in London, here.

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