Get our free email newsletter with just one click

The Justice Syndicate review at Sheriff Court, Dundee – ‘enthralling courtroom simulation’

The Justice Syndicate at Sheriff Court, Dundee. Photo: Drew Farrell
by -

Taking place as part of the annual NEoN (North East of North) Digital Arts Festival in the Scottish tech and design industries hub of Dundee, Citizen of Nowhere is a weekend-long festival sub-strand co-curated by National Theatre of Scotland artistic director Jackie Wylie and William Galinsky of GalinskyWorks.

Inspired by Theresa May’s infamous “if you believe you are a citizen of the world, you are a citizen of nowhere” quote, the mission of this festival was to explore the current landscape of social fragmentation and rapid technological change through experiments in non-traditional theatre forms.

Created by Dan Barnard and Rachel Briscoe’s Newcastle-based “recovering theatre company” Fanshen (which specialises in works involving performance, game and installation), The Justice Syndicate was the most compelling of the pieces on offer. Set in the jury room of Dundee Sheriff Court, it involves an audience of up to 12, who also perform the parts of the jury in a very conflicting trial.

Through the synced-up iPads and speakers before them, the audience are told of the trial of Dr Simon Huxtable, a world-renowned cancer surgeon whose success rates in treating children are unparalleled; accusing him of attempted rape is Sally, the mother of one of the children he treated, whose home he visited late one evening to deliver a birthday gift.

Through constructed documents and testimony performed by actors, we learn both of his interest in sadistic sexual chat online and her reputation as a promiscuous drinker. Given plenty of opportunity to discuss, to vote upon the verdict and to expel one of our colleagues, this finely-tuned simulation is thrilling – and hopefully enlightening to all, when it becomes apparent that what has really been on trial are our own susceptibilities to suggestion, moral groupthink and manufactured opinion.

We need your help…

When you subscribe to The Stage, you’re investing in our journalism. And our journalism is invested in supporting theatre and the performing arts.

The Stage is a family business, operated by the same family since we were founded in 1880. We do not receive government funding. We are not owned by a large corporation. Our editorial is not dictated by ticket sales.

We are fully independent, but this means we rely on revenue from readers to survive.

Help us continue to report on great work across the UK, champion new talent and keep up our investigative journalism that holds the powerful to account. Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue.

Subscribers to The Stage get 10% off The Stage Tickets’ price
Enthralling courtroom simulation which cuts to the heart of what it is to be an informed voter