Twenty-first-century Russian theatre artists have increasingly taken to using material from real-life events to explore the intricacies of injustice in the civic sphere and its connection to the country's past. In a fifteen-year time span documentary forms have come to the forefront of Russia's theatrical avant-garde. In this article Molly Flynn offers a close reading of one of the most politically charged productions to have emerged from Moscow's booming documentary theatre – One Hour Eighteen: the Trial that Wasn't but Should Have Been (2010). The play uses verbatim texts from the prison and medical staff directly involved in the final days before the murder of Russian attorney Sergei Magnitskii in 2009. Setting the piece in a theatrical courtroom, the creators of One Hour Eighteen place their work in the context of Russia's judicial history in the previous century, during which the resemblance of trials to theatre has often been uncomfortably close. Molly Flynn is a doctoral candidate in Slavonic Studies at the University of Cambridge. She is currently completing her doctoral thesis on the history and significance of documentary theatre in twenty-first-century Russia.