The Verdict

Malvern Theatres


Court cases very often make excellent theatre  –  the story, the adversarial contest, the tension arising before the outcome is declared, all create suspense, excitement and dramatic impact.

The Verdict began as a novel by Barry Reed, was adapted for film, and now has been brilliantly adapted for the stage by Margaret May Hobbs and presented by Middle Ground Theatre Company.

A struggling lawyer in Boston, Massachusetts, suddenly finds he has a case of medical malpractice involving a pregnant mother being administered the wrong anaesthetic, leaving her in a permanently vegetative state. There are twists and turns involving bribes, the use of a honeypot to undermine his legal challenge, a biased judge, vested interests in the professional medical community – and he is up against the foremost attorney in the field.

On entering the theatre one is immediately met by an impressive set – against a backdrop of the Boston skyline in winter, there is the messy office of the unsuccessful lawyer, Frank Galvin,, on one side of the stage, an imposing bar on the other – his drinking and weary socialising in the context of a failing marriage is important. One or two scenes are set against scenery flown in from the fly gallery, later the courtroom set is majestic and very impressive. The team of designers, carpenters and scenic artists have done a superb job.


Vincent Pirello as Moe Katz (left) with Jason Merrells as Frank Galvin

The cast for this production is large and very well cast. This provides interest, colour, variety and character to the whole evening. Jason Merrells as the attorney, Frank Galvin, leads the cast and provides a beautifully nuanced performance; he is a flawed character, yet heroic, challenging the powerful and privileged, struggling with his drinking and susceptibility to temptation, reproaching himself ultimately for his vulnerability.

The rest of the cast are similarly very strong: Richard Walsh as Bishop Brophy and Eldredge Sweeney, Vincent Pirillo as Moe Katz, Nigel Barber as Edgar Concannon, and Holly Jackson Walters as Nurse Natalie Stampanatto, and Okon Jones as Lionel Thompson stood out, but the whole colourful cast were excellent.

Michael Lundy has directed and designed a outstanding show. This production is long but totally absorbing. It keeps us thinking, listening, analysing and guessing. The play raises many questions about power and corruption, law and justice, human frailties but the honourable willingness of some individuals to stand up for truth.

It is a brilliant evening -audience members muttering ‘excellent show’ at the end says it all. This highly recommended show runs through the week to Saturday 10-06-23.

Tim Crow


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