The Justice Syndicate review: Jury duty becomes a game

Dublin Fringe Festival: Fanshen’s absorbing piece of interactive theatre takes the shape of an emotive court case


Four Courts
What would happen if jury duty was a game? This emotive mock trial sequesters the audience in the Four Courts to reach a verdict on a sexual assault case with troublingly elusive evidence.

A world-class surgeon, specialising in child cancer, is accused of the attempted rape of a patient’s mother. Is she making false accusations, following her spurred advances (as the defence argues)? Or does his sordid internet history, full of violent fantasy, reveal a predator hiding behind privilege?

As details and testimony are rationed out through iPads, and group discussions take place against a countdown, the only thing beyond reasonable doubt in UK company Fanshen’s absorbing piece of interactive theatre are the quirks of human psychology. Those stumbles of cognitive dissonance and confirmation bias are explained to us, however, in a rather pedagogic debrief, as alive to Brexit schisms as #MeToo sensitivities. Our gameplay, it is noted, has been captured for further study. Are we the ones on trial?

Peter Crawley

Peter Crawley

Peter Crawley, a contributor to The Irish Times, writes about theatre, television and other aspects of culture