We’ve hardly seen a woman on stage recently – following on from the all-male Mojo and The Scottsboro boys with its solitary, virtually silent female presence – and Christopher Haydon’s absorbing production takes us into a swelteringly hot New York jury room where a dozen men (all white, but from vastly different backgrounds) have to decide the fate of a 16-year-old delinquent accused of killing his father.

Reginald Rose’s drama (it began life on television and was subsequently filmed in 1957) differs from the usual courtroom scenario in that the only other person we see, briefly, is the police officer guarding the jury room door, and the details of the case are relayed second-hand – the evidence already subject to varying interpretations by the men who hold the boy’s life in their hands.

Initially it looks like a clear-cut case of “guilty” as far as eleven of them are concerned, but Juror 8 maintains that there’s ‘reasonable doubt’. Despite vehement resistance from, among others, loud-mouthed bigot Juror 10 (Miles Richardson) and Juror 7 with tickets for an imminent baseball game burning a hole in his pocket, the foreman does the right thing and ensures that the men carry out their democratic duty.

Martin Shaw brings a calm dignity to the role of the dissenting juror, insisting that – whether guilty or not, and no matter what his history – the youth merits their time and consideration. And, as the table round which they sit revolves (almost imperceptibly) full circle, there’s powerful opposition from Lost’s Jeff Fahey (whose personal circumstances drastically colour his views) and even-handed support from scene-stealing octogenarian Robert Vaughan in this compelling drama.

When: Playing until March 1, 2014

Ticket price: £19.50

Where: Garrick, Charing Cross Road, WC2H 0HH

Nearest tube: Leicester Square

Web: nimaxtheatres.com