Middle Ground Theatre
by Barry Reed
Adapted by Margaret May Hobbs
Tuesday 5 – Saturday 9 March
Box Office 01352 701521
(4 / 5) for this David V Goliath courtroom drama
The Verdict stars Ian Kelsey who first found fame as 90s teen heart-throb Dave Glover in Emmerdale, and was most recently seen on TV as villain Vinny Ashford in Coronation Street.
Kelsey is part of a 15 strong cast of familiar stars from TV including Denis Lill (Only Fools and Horses), Paul Opacic (Bad Girls/Hollyoaks),Christopher Ettridge (Goodnight Sweetheart).
The Verdict plays in Mold for one week only as part of a national tour, which continues at venues throughout the UK until the Summer and with the named cast it was not surprising to see an almost full house on the first night of the run. Originally a movies starring Paul Newman and James Mason it was seen as a masterpiece of the time and nominated for 5 Oscars, More than a courtroom drama the story questions human nature and the value of life.
The large cast did not disappoint and all delivered credible performances. Kelsey was heartfelt as the down on his luck lawyer who likes the booze and the office floor more than his wife and his bed. He is engaging and convincing in his transitional journey from hard-bitten ambulance chaser to, fighter of the cause, and we follow him willingly as he takes on the Church, the Judicial system and his peers. Even in the early stages of the play he is likable and this in the main is down to Kelsey’s charm as a actor and his timing.
Supporting him in the plot and in the play was Lill who gave a stand out performance as one time partner and the surrogate father figure. Bringing a comic one liner to almost every delivery the chemistry between the two was entertaining and believable.
There was a clever use of drops for set changes making the simple set seem more elaborate than it was, naturalistic in style the lighting and direction was all very safe and felt a little stated in the first half – this along with the fact it was set in the 70’s made it feel overall a little dated – with more adventurous lighting and potentially setting it in modern day much more could have been achieved from this talented cast…. Especially as the main theme of the play is taking on the System, exposing deceit and showing that “No life is small” this is as relevant today as it was in 1976.
However when the second half kicked in and the courtroom drama began the tension and the acting over rode any concerns about lighting or direction I may have been having and all I was interested in was what would the verdict be!!