Making light of the law


Photo by Ezra Rosser/RECORD

Trial By Jury, an irresistible Gilbert & Sullivan musical, was originally scheduled to run for only a few weeks. But 127 years after it first debuted, the show is finally making its way to Harvard Law School tonight in the Ames Courtroom.

The show tells the story of Edwin, whose jilted sweetheart Angelina sues him for breach of promise when he starts to lose interest. Once he is hailed into court, various humorous hijinks ensue, with the usher falling in love with the plaintiff, Edwin begging the judge for a rather odd bargain, and the judge eventually falling for Angelina himself.

Everything done or sung in the show is ludicrous, especially the judge’s well-known ditty, “When First, My Friends, I Was Called To the Bar.” But underneath much of the humor lie many incisive bits of truth — just as the use of the legal setting highlights the often silly conventions of the legal system.

Sponsored by the Harvard Law School Drama Society, which has been producing plays (including the well-known Parody) for several decades, the show represents both a return to the stage for many 2L and 3L performers and an HLS debut for several 1Ls, including Rebecca Ingber, Ellen Ginsberg, Jeremy Blachman, Anne Fleming and Jeffrey Vardaro.

The show stars 2L Candace Modlin as Angelina (the plaintiff), who impresses with her voice and humorous interactions with the jury (led by 2L Joe Nuccio). Two-L Antonio Reynolds dazzles as a judge who is as funny as he is ignorant of the law, while 3L Chris Kolovos, as Edwin, demonstrates more of the vocal stylings he has brought to past performances, including the Law School Parody.

Students with short attention spans should also cheer Trial By Jury — the show only runs 45 minutes.

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