Here’s The Verdict, Now Showing At Belgrade Theatre Coventry.

Here's The Verdict, Now Showing At Belgrade Theatre Coventry.

The Verdict is the latest stage show from the Middle Ground Theatre company that’s currently showing at Belgrade Theatre, Coventry. Set in Boston in 1980, the Verdict follows a lawyer, Frank Galvin, with a soft spot for booze as he tries to fight for his client in a medical malpractice case.

Presented with one last chance to redeem himself when he is given an open-and-shut case that no one thinks he can win. Up against the unforgiving medical establishment and the all-powerful Catholic Church, he courageously refuses an out of court settlement, believing it is negligence that has condemned a young mother. Smelling a cover up, he instead takes the case and the entire legal system to court. Not one to miss out on a good drama, Lilith Holsey-Sheppard went along to the show’s opening night.

If you have ever seen lawyers present their cases in court, you can’t help but think they like the dramatics of it all, apart from Frank Galvin that is. As the lights dim in the auditorium, a tired looking Frank Galvin. Ian Kelsey (Coronations Street & Eastenders), paces his run-down office looking as though every weight of the world is on his shoulders. Taking a seat at his desk, he pours himself a whiskey from a bottle in his desk. A visit from his client’s mother Mrs McDaid, Anna Kavanagh (Sex Education & Doctors), only seems to add to his troubles as she impresses upon him the trust, she has with him on her daughters’ case.

As the battle ensues, the odds are stacked against Frank and he knows it too. Determined to win the fight for his client with the help of hi mentor Moe Katz, Denis Lill (Yes Prime Minister & Black Adder) they set about taking on the church in a complicated case.

The set is very well done and is spit in to two during the entire first act with a beautiful and snowy backdrop of Boston at the rear of the stage. One side is the run-down office of Frank’s practice, the other side a traditional Irish, American pub. Somewhere that Frank is a regular visitor. In the second act the stage is a grand, oak court room. Imposing & intimidating as most court rooms are.

The cast is very strong with plenty of well-known names amongst them. Ian Kelsey is brilliant, and you almost feel every emotion he is going through as he battles his own demons as well as the case. His opposing lawyer J. Edgar Concannon, Christopher Ettridge (The Bill, Casualty & Eastenders) is everything a defence lawyer is, pompous, belittling and intimidating all at the same time. Other favourites include Bishop Brophy, Richard Walsh (Midsomer Nights Murder), expert witness Lionel Thompsom MD, Okon Jone (The Bill & Casualty) & waitress Donna St Laurent, Josephine Rogers.

The Verdict is everything you would expect from a gritty court room drama and well worth a watch. Throughout you can hear gasps from the audience as each twist in the plot in unveiled.

The Verdict is on at Belgrade Theatre, Coventry till Saturday 2nd Feb

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