Reviewed by Linda Pickford
Last night’s performance of The Verdict at the Theatre Royal in Plymouth kept us all spellbound. I don’t believe I have ever sat in such a quiet auditorium. You could have heard a pin drop while we all remained in silence listening to every word. There was no shuffling or fidgeting so when the interval arrived the audience stayed seated for many seconds before realising that it was time to move.
In essence, the play is based on the eternal fight between the powerful and the weak. In this case, a young woman had emergency surgery during the birth of her third child. It went wrong and resulted in severe brain damage. The court case resulted as a way of getting financial damages from the Catholic Church, the hospital and the doctors concerned. The mother of the woman was distraught and alone in her fight and initially railed against her lawyer’s decision not to accept a cash offer. She was alone, elderly and fighting to raise her 3 motherless grandchildren and attend to the needs of her daughter who was in a persistent vegetative state. A real courtroom drama to tug at your emotions. In basis, we the audience were the jury.
It was a very balanced cast led magnificently by Ian Kelsey as the lawyer Frank Galvin aided and abetted by Denis Lill playing Moe Katz, his aged mentor. Their extensive acting abilities shone through. Ian Kelsey, known well for television and theatre work over the years, was mesmerising. He was involved in almost every act, in fact he was on stage before the play actually commenced. He kept us all enthralled. Blink and you could easily miss one of his casual throw away wisecracks. His character, a drunk and a broken man, grew with the case and gradually came to terms with his own past grief and unfair life.
It was a joy to listen to such good dialogue with good diction and no unnecessary background music. Paul Opacic, Christopher Ettridge, Richard Walsh, Karen Drury and Anne Kavanagh all deserve a mention for their excellent performances. Michael Lunney not only had two parts in the play, but he was also the Director and Designer and a co- founder of the Middle Ground Theatre Company who produced this excellent tour. I must watch out for future productions of the company.
Plymouth Theatre Royal are to be congratulated for being part of this brilliant event. They are well situated in a popular area of the city with ample car parking, restaurants and bars in the immediate area. Numerous bus stops are almost outside the door.
Tickets cost from £12 to £28 (booking fees may apply).
The Verdict is at the Theatre Royal in Plymouth from 21-25 May 2019, for more information or to book tickets visit www.theatreroyal.com or call the box office on 01752 267222.
Theatre Royal Plymouth, Royal Parade, Plymouth, PL1 2TR | 01752 267222