Ian Kelsey as Frank Galvin and Dennis Lill as Moe Katz

The Verdict

Belgrade Theatre


From the very start this is the most gripping courtroom drama with a brilliant storyline and wonderfully flawed but fabulous characters played by a tip-top cast of well-known actors.

Frank Galvin (Ian Kelsey) inhabits a 1980’s snowy Boston, the backdrop to our hero’s drunken decision to challenge the might of the medial establishment, the Catholic church, his own poverty and even some crooked lawyers with a less-than-ethical range of dirty tricks.

His office is dingy and clearly his home and Meehan’s Irish Bar, his second home where Eugene Meehan (Michael Lunney) provides common sense and food in the watering hole where he meets Donna St Laurent (Josephine Rogers), a new mystery barmaid and so nearly his undoing.

A medical mistake turns into a high-profile malpractice case as Deborah Ann lies in a persistent vegetative state after the delivery of her third child has gone badly wrong.

Her elderly and impoverished mother Mrs McDaid (Anne Kavanagh) is left to bring up three motherless children in a two-room apartment with no support. The Catholic Church, in the shape of Bishop Brophy (Richard Walsh), offers a less-than-generous out-of-court settlement that Frank thinks, and hopes can be bettered.

He faces J Edgar Concannon (Christopher Ettridge), barrister from the biggest Boston law firm who has paid off the main witness, scared the mother, bribed Frank’s new love and sweet-talked the judge (Richard Walsh). But Galvin’s 75-year-old mentor Moe Katz (Dennis Lill) is a gem injecting much-needed common sense and humour into Frank’s mindset.

You will have noticed by now that this has more than a bit of an Irish tinge and the music used to punctuate is Irish tunes that suit beautifully the mood of the story’s progress. The set is also wonderful, switching from Irish bar to office to courtroom with ease.

The story hinges on the testimony of a frightened nurse (Holly Jackson Walters) whose refusal to capitulate to the two doctors (Paul Opacic and Michael Lumley) costs her her job, and Lionel B Thompson (Okon Jones), the stand-in ‘expert witness’, a black New York doctor who faces his cross-questioning with charm, wit and the confidence of experience.

This is deservedly a popular and gripping drama that is a joy from beginning to end. Wonderful. Designed and directed by Michael  Lumley, this Middle Ground Theatre production runs to 02-02-19

Jane Howard


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