Judge & Jury ends sentence at Brooklyn

Interactive improv show concludes run 

The Judge and Jury set at the Brooklyn. 

In Judge and Jury, the higest court in the land was far from sober. 

This was on display when Living in Technicolour presented the final installment of their infamous Judge and Jury production at the Brooklyn on Saturday evening.

Judge and Jury: Shooting Star is an interactive improv show that uses the audience’s input to shape the narrative in live action. It’s not traditional, highbrow theatre—the cast has the lone goal of making the audience laugh. 

The plot centered around the investigation of the fatal shooting of two judges on a televised national singing competition. The nine characters—a diverse collection of contestants and crew from the competition—were on trial for the crime.

All of the defendants had the means, motive and access to commit the crime. 

As a result, they had to prove their innocence to the audience, who was responsible for sorting through the narrative to find the guilty party. 

However, Judge and Jury isn’t your typical impartial court of law. Rather, the interactive production encouraged the jury to heckle the defendants as much as possible. 

The show was performed in rounds that consisted of three segments each—a period of improv, a question and answer session, and a final vote.

The improv periods revealed the storyline to viewers through heated discussions between defendants trying to prove their innocence. This segment was followed by an interview where the audience was able to ask characters about the information they presented. 

The final portion of each round was the vote. Audience members voted characters out of the story based on their perceived innocence. The vote was critical to the evolution of the storyline because once a character was deemed innocent, they were free to walk away from the trial. 

Through the process of elimination, the character believed to be guilty was left on stage at the end of the performance to face execution, even if they didn`t commit the crime.

The system of voting operated through the use of QR codes. 

Upon entering the venue, each audience member was given a card printed with a code they had to hold up during voting periods in order to participate. The tech crew moved around the room with a smartphone to scan the cards, allowing an app to calculate which character was deemed innocent in that round.

Although audience interaction was the essence of the show, the voting process became increasingly tedious as the rounds progressed and the initial excitement wore off. 

Judge and Jury succeeds because the show is never the same twice. The crew designates a different character as the guilty party during each presentation, and the audience involvement completely influences the direction of the plot. 

As such, the audience participation has a strong influence on the level of comedy achieved by the production. While the castwas talented, the characters were not fully developed and they had limited subject matter to work with. 

Some elements of comedy were repeated too much throughout the show, losing their comedic effect. It’s funny the first and second time someone has water thrown in their face, but eventually it becomes a lazy means of generating laughs.  

The cast thrived by developing a rapport with the highly engaged crowd, as they were able to incorporate commentary into their dialogue.

Saturday evening was the final presentation of the production’s third season, and the evidence speaks for itself. Judge and Jury is a highly entertaining commentary on the court of public opinion.

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