The Verdict - UK Tour Review

 I absolutely adore courtroom dramas, crime documentaries, thriller books. Basically anything that deals with crime, courts, and justice. I know I'm not the only one with this passion as the rise in true crime documentaries and podcasts soars and the popularity in shows and plays around crime and punishment tread the many theatre boards around the UK. The Verdict is one of those shows that seems to tick all of those boxes for crime fans that want an evening out where they can indulge their detective brains and try and work out how this courtroom drama will ultimately end. 

The Verdict is a play that originated as a book in 1980 by Barry Reed that was later adapted into a film of the same name. Now after being adapted for the stage by Middle Ground Theatre Company, it's time for a live audience to sit on the edge of their seat and help solve the case. 

The story follows Frank Galvin, a washed up Boston lawyer who is praying for a big pay check and case win. When a case regarding a medical malpractice suit is placed on his desk he initially brushes it off as an easy settlement. Until he looks into the case further and realises that there is more to play than just an accident. And by taking on one of the biggest medical institutes in the city, Frank needs to ensure he has all the evidence he needs to bring justice to the family that are seeking it. 

The first act feels like a slow, wonderfully sleepy 70's courtroom drama. You follow Frank as he struggles with drinking, his personal life, and juggling his work. He encounters a brilliantly beautiful femme fatale who wins him over in the local bar, and sets to work building a case against the biggest medical institute in the city. Whilst others are telling him that it's a crazy idea, he feels compelled to see it through. Whilst the first act seemed to move and build slowly, the second act started with a bang and raced through so fast that the audience had to remind themselves to take a breath. The second act opened in the courtroom as you see the case unfold. You watch as the characters true colours are shown, and the secrets that have been hidden explode in a dramatic climax. It was honestly one of the most engaging and compelling second act's I've seen in a long time and I was sat on the edge of my seat throughout. 

Galvin was portrayed by Jason Merrells who is a familiar face on screen and stage. The stamina he had to play this commanding lead role is incredible and I'm always in complete admiration of actors that seem to spend 90% of the play on stage and are able to manoeuvre the plot with ease. Reanne Farley was incredible as Donna St Laurent, the femme fatale that works behind the bar of Meehan's and tries to win over the heart of Galvin. I loved Vincent Pirillo as Moe Katz and felt his portrayal of the older mentor to Galvin brilliant. With the perfect blend of comedic timing and sincerity, he fully won me over in his role. 

All the actors on stage allowed this story to flow and grow in a way that had the audience hooked. What started as a wonderfully sleepy courtroom drama unfolds into a dramatic tale of justice as we explore the moral compass of the law and the true cost of medical malpractice in this edge of your seat play. 

The Verdict is on at the Mayflower, Southampton until 22/7/23 and then continues on a UK tour. For more information and tickets please follow the link:

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