Popular actor attracts theatre fans

Carol Starks and Tom Conti in Rough Justice at the Theatre Royal Brighton.
Carol Starks and Tom Conti in Rough Justice at the Theatre Royal Brighton.
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Rough Justice, Eastbourne’s Devonshire Park Theatre

Theatre fans flocked to the Devonshire Park Theatre at Eastbourne on Monday October 22nd to see Britain’s most popular actor Tom Conti in Terence Frisby’s courtroom drama Rough Justice.

This is not a new play, it was written 20 years ago but the story is as relevant today as it was then. Conti plays television journalist James Highwood who is used to challenging the British justice system finds himself on trial at the Old Bailey charged with the mercy killing of his brain-damaged son.

He decides to defend himself and admits that he did it but the play has so many twists and turns it is not at all straight forward and the ending may well take the audience by surprise.

There are some very funny moments when Conti not only takes on the Judge, well played by Royce Mills but also the Counsel for the Prosecution Margaret Casely who is played by Elizabeth Payne with great verve.

Carol Starks is excellent as James’ long suffering wife Jean as is David Michaels who is driven to despair as James’ solicitor by his client’s refusal to follow his instructions.

The first act is a bit wordy but by the second half you are completely wrapped up in the tragic tale of James and Jean’s son nicknamed Cabby (short for cabbage) who had no quality of life.

Janet Bird’s clever set switches from the court at the Old Bailey to James’ cell without a hitch and James Larkin’s direction is slick which makes it a very entertaining evening in the theatre.

Amanda Wilkins