While stars Nicholls and Isaacs were slightly lacklustre, the strength of Justice was its unabashedly hilarious and fiercely dynamic supporting cast. The chemistry and presence of the two villains, Rollason and Joyce, were enough on their own to carry the play. Joyce’s Rand was a vortex herself: seductive, evil, and absolutely absorbing, even as she tangoed, bellowed in an incredibly campy Russian accent, and threatened Rawls with a whip. My only complaint is that the play could not feature more of her.
Much of the joy of Justice was its sheer absurdity and irreverence: a kind of communal release from the high-stakes pressure of academia. That said, I’m not so sure that the play would work outside an academic environment. There were some major diction problems with singers, further muddling already fast paced song lyrics; I’m not sure someone unfamiliar with the term “State of Nature,” for example, would understand why Locke and Hobbes wanted to “shank” each other. And by the end of the play, the gag of portraying philosophers as extremely flamboyant was starting to become annoying. (I’m still trying to understand why Kant, a philosopher known for his innocent, childish appearance, was portrayed as a sexed-up drag queen.) But overall, “Justice” will certainly delight any overworked Oxford student. Bespeaking the cathartic release of frustration were the cheers from that audience that were elicited by Locke’s deadpan line to Nozack: “I think you overestimate the amount of time we have thought about this.”