Ashley Zhangazha and Tanya Moodie in Terror at the Lyric Hammersmith. Photo: Tristram Kenton

Terror: Review Round-Up

A reviews round-up for Terror at the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre.

Enter the courtroom. Hear the evidence. Make your judgement.

The audience plays the jury in this courtroom drama, by the lawyer and writer Ferdinand von Schirach, in which a fighter pilot is on trial for shooting down a hijacked aircraft.

How did the critics judge Terror? Read our round-up of reviews below.

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Terror runs until 15 July 2017 at the Lyric Hammersmith.

Average Critics Rating


The Guardian

“Ferdinand von Schirach’s morally perplexing legal drama puts the fate of a German fighter pilot at the audience’s mercy”

“Designer Anna Fleischle has done a brilliant job – her German courtroom is dazzlingly correct, with a view of civic buildings through long windows, forbidding doors in varnished wood, a mighty chandelier.”

“It is an evening of tremendous argumentative aplomb yet, for all its intricate orchestration, it frustrates: the case feels laboured, the choice too crude – it is a reminder, above all, that the law is a blunt instrument. Is it possible to be guilty and not guilty? The show will keep you thinking.”

Kate Hellaway, The Guardian

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Time Out

“In this gripping courtroom show, you are the jury”

“More what you’d call ‘an entertainment’ than a courtroom drama, this faux trial in which we vote on the outcome is actually a bloody good shout for the Lyric and its boss Sean Holmes, who directs. Theatre can be ivory towered, but this is stuff that fans of procedural TV shows will surely lap up, and fits in nicely with the Lyric’s deft mix of artiness and accessibility.”

“What seals the deal is the cast. You could quite easily imagine this being done with second-tier actors, but Holmes has roped in some big hitters to combat the whiff of novelty. Moodie, in particular, is a towering actor whose air of total authority binds the night together.”

Andrzej Lukowski, TimeOut

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The Daily Telegraph

“Von Schirach’s play taps into theatre’s long tradition as a democratic art-form fundamentally concerned with notions of justice and jurisprudence.”

“This play is more interesting to think about than it is to watch. The drama lies not on stage but in your snapping synapses as a member of the audience in control of the verdict. Ultimately, it’s a parlour game masquerading as an ancient Greek tragedy. Still, worth seeing? You decide.”

Claire Allfree, Daily Telegraph

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The Independent

“Often feels more akin to a moral philosophy seminar”

“After watching this scrupulous but rather desiccated piece, coming to decision on so vital an issue feels like a peculiarly bloodless exercise.”

Paul Taylor, Independent

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The Stage

“Coupling the knotty legal dialectic of 12 Angry Men with the gut-wrenching emotional tug of United 93, Ferdinand von Schirach's Terror makes for a compelling, excruciatingly timely, but ultimately frustrating interactive theatrical experience.”

“But although Terror finds a resonant gravitas and elicits an empowering thrill, unwieldy Kantian philosophy and constant constitutional carping begin to weigh it down, and the final verdict – delivered after a 15-minute recess – doesn't feel sophisticated enough to accommodate the case's nuances. What should be a cathartic climax is a brisk, unsatisfying cop-out.”

Fergus Morgan, The Stage

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Daily Express

“It is an intriguing premise and in spite of some longueurs, mentally stimulating. It is like watching a dramatised version of The Moral Maze in which the audience is involved, if not immersed. “

“There are some over-enthusiastic and unrealistic performances. Would defence counsel really insult a judge as readily as Counsel Biegler (Forbes Masson) does and get away with it?”

Neil Norman, Daily Express

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📷 Main photo: Ashley Zhangazha and Tanya Moodie in Terror at the Lyric Hammersmith. Photo: Tristram Kenton

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