Loading Events

Coming Soon

Summer Term ’24: Make Your Mark Xtra

June 19th 10:30 am

|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 10:30am on Wednesday, repeating until 17th July 2024

Summer Term ’24: Parents & Wobblers (Wednesday)

June 19th 11:30 am

|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 11:30am on Wednesday, repeating until 17th July 2024

Summer Term ’24: Make Your Mark

June 20th 10:30 am

|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 10:30am on Thursday, repeating until 18th July 2024

Summer Term ’24: Make Your Mark II

June 20th 1:30 pm

|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 1:30pm on Thursday, repeating until 18th July 2024

Event Calendar

« June 2024 » loading...
M T W T F S S
27
28
29
30
31
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
Mon 17

Freud’s Last Session (12A)

June 14th - June 20th
Mon 17
Mon 17
Wed 19

Event Search

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

The Verdict

6th June 2023 - 10th June 2023

 

The powerful bestselling courtroom thriller that inspired a multi Academy Award-Nominated film starring Paul Newman.

Frank Galvin is a washed up veteran lawyer and an alcoholic. He is presented with one last chance to redeem himself when he is given an open-and-shut medical malpractice case that no one thinks he can win. Up against the unforgiving medical establishment, 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…

Jason Merrells is known to millions for his roles in Agatha Raisin, Emmerdale, Casualty, Waterloo Road and many more. He is joined by Richard Walsh (London’s Burning), Reanne Farley (River City), Vincent Pirillo, Nigel Barber, Jason Wilson, Okon Jones, Michael Lunney, Sarah Shelton, Teresa Jennings, Holly Jackson Walters, James Morley, Bruce Chattan, Anna Arthur and Dave Speck.

This phenomenal and gripping courtroom thriller has been a huge success at theatres across the UK and Ireland.

“This beautifully crafted, intelligent direction and fast-paced script rich in traditional storytelling methods to deliver maximum impact at crucial moments, resulting in an intense, absorbing and thoroughly satisfying production … Jason Merrells makes the role of Frank his very own with all the depth, fortitude and soul required to bring him to likable – and wholly convincing – life.”
5 Stars The Bath Magazine *****

“Margaret May Hobbs has created a gripping and compelling script which is hugely enjoyable. Jason Merrells holds the centre of the story with ease … This is a strong and committed production, the many multi roles are defined with great skill”.
Bath Echo

“Jason Merrells plays a broken but talented lawyer in this rich, layered, gripping tale of redemption”
5 Stars Bath Life *****

“Despite the fact that a very successful film version, with a script by award-winning author David Mamet, was already in existence, Margaret May Hobbs unhesitatingly took on the task, coming up with a script that transfers the story to the stage in a very acceptable manner.”
The Fine Times Recorder

Running time: 2 hours 40 minutes (including interval)

 

 

Details

Start:
6th June 2023
End:
10th June 2023
Event Categories:
, , ,

Venue

Festival Theatre
Grange Road
Malvern, WR14 3HB

Other

Price:
1st Night & Wed Mat: £35.84, £33.60, £30.24, £26.88 & £23.52
Wed-Thurs Eves & Sat Mat: £39.20 £36.96 £33.60 £30.24 £26.88
Fri & Sat Eves: £42.56 £40.32 £36.96 £33.60 £30.24
£2 concessions (over 60s /unwaged)
Under 26s £16.80
Members discounts apply
Price includes 12% booking fee
Show Times:
Tuesday 6th to Saturday 10th June
Evenings at 7.30pm
Wednesday & Saturday matinees at 2.30pm

Event Reviews

    I went to see ‘The Verdict’ on Wednesday afternoon last week.
    I was absolutely enthralled by all aspects of the production. The split set in the first Act was very effective. Act 2 in the courtroom was where the tension really built up as Frank presented his case to us, the audience, as the jury.
    The cast all played their parts so well. Jason Merrells portrayed Frank brilliantly. He got the balance of the character just right evoking our sympathy for his situation and the triumphant outcome at the end as he summed up the facts so convincingly was, in my opinion, acting of the highest calibre.

    If I hadn’t been busy on the other evenings last week, I would have gone to see the performance again as I was so impressed.

    An unforgettable piece of theatre. Thank you and congratulations to all concerned!

  • Robert

    Brilliant ! Everything about this play was outstanding. Very well done and thank you very much.

  • Alma

    Excellent. One of the very best plays I have seen, thoroughly recommend.

  • Ken

    My wife and myself went to see The Verdict last night, 8th June.
    I found it to be a very powerful enjoyable play. The stage sets were magnificent especially the court room ! The acting was in my opinion magnificent.
    I have to admit there was a tear in my eye when the foreman of the jury said "guilty "
    Terrific play !!

  • David

    Brilliant all round. Gripping.

  • The View from the Stalls

    You may know the story of The Verdict from the 1982 film which starred Paul Newman, James Mason and Charlotte Rampling.

    Or you may have seen the touring version when it came to Malvern in 2017 and starred Clive Mantle, Jack Shepherd and Cassie Bancroft.

    Now the same production company - Middle Ground - is touring the show with a new cast with Jason Merrells and Richard Walsh at the helm, the former having been seen in shows such as Agatha Raisin (playing Sir Charles Frith) and Happy Valley and the latter perhaps best remembered for his character Sicknote in LWT's London Burning. Here they play the somewhat renegade attorney Frank Galvin and Judge Eldredge Sweeney/Bishop Brophy.

    Set in the 1970’s, the play revolves around the one character we never actually see, as treatment in hospital whilst giving birth to her 3rd child has left her severely incapacitated - a “vegetable” in the words of the prosecution. No-one denies that there has been a catastrophic failure of care but who is to blame and how much compensation should be paid? More than the $300,000 first offered by the Church (for they run the St Catherine Laboure hospital where the incident happened) according to Frank Galvin, a somewhat down at heel, shambolic attorney who is first seen in a dishevelled state on stage as the audience takes their seats.

    The first act switches between Galvin's legal office and the Irish bar where the married-but-separated lawyer seems to spend much of his time in the company of a bottle and his bar-owning buddy Eugene. This an impressive dual set in itself but during the interval, the backstage guys are hard at work sweeping away those cosy locations to transform the stage into the impressive courtroom where the case is brought before judge and jury. Other scenes are neatly created by lowering a backdrop in front of which the characters appear and most of these scene changes are done to the accompaniment of some lovely Irish music, fitting for the Irish-American location of Boston in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
    You may know the story of The Verdict from the 1982 film which starred Paul Newman, James Mason and Charlotte Rampling.

    Or you may have seen the touring version when it came to Malvern in 2017 and starred Clive Mantle, Jack Shepherd and Cassie Bancroft.

    Now the same production company - Middle Ground - is touring the show with a new cast with Jason Merrells and Richard Walsh at the helm, the former having been seen in shows such as Agatha Raisin (playing Sir Charles Frith) and Happy Valley and the latter perhaps best remembered for his character Sicknote in LWT's London Burning. Here they play the somewhat renegade attorney Frank Galvin and Judge Eldredge Sweeney/Bishop Brophy.

    Set in the 1970’s, the play revolves around the one character we never actually see, as treatment in hospital whilst giving birth to her 3rd child has left her severely incapacitated - a “vegetable” in the words of the prosecution. No-one denies that there has been a catastrophic failure of care but who is to blame and how much compensation should be paid? More than the $300,000 first offered by the Church (for they run the St Catherine Laboure hospital where the incident happened) according to Frank Galvin, a somewhat down at heel, shambolic attorney who is first seen in a dishevelled state on stage as the audience takes their seats.

    The first act switches between Galvin's legal office and the Irish bar where the married-but-separated lawyer seems to spend much of his time in the company of a bottle and his bar-owning buddy Eugene. This an impressive dual set in itself but during the interval, the backstage guys are hard at work sweeping away those cosy locations to transform the stage into the impressive courtroom where the case is brought before judge and jury. Other scenes are neatly created by lowering a backdrop in front of which the characters appear and most of these scene changes are done to the accompaniment of some lovely Irish music, fitting for the Irish-American location of Boston in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

    Galvin is a rather maverick lawyer who is quite happy to take on the somewhat one-sided judge at his own game - leading to some amusing exchanges of words between the two - but there is betrayal in the midst which means that things don’t go quite as they should as the underhand nature of the legal profession attempts to win the case.

    After the scene-setting in Act 1, the courtroom action in Act 2 was riveting as Galvin battles against the combined might of both legal and medical professions protecting themselves in order to get justice for one patient, her mother and children.

    There is large cast of 15 involved in the production and if you like your courtroom dramas tense and where you will be fighting for the underdog, this is definitely a solid and well-acted show to see.
    Galvin is a rather maverick lawyer who is quite happy to take on the somewhat one-sided judge at his own game - leading to some amusing exchanges of words between the two - but there is betrayal in the midst which means that things don’t go quite as they should as the underhand nature of the legal profession attempts to win the case.

    After the scene-setting in Act 1, the courtroom action in Act 2 was riveting as Galvin battles against the combined might of both legal and medical professions protecting themselves in order to get justice for one patient, her mother and children.

    There is large cast of 15 involved in the production and if you like your courtroom dramas tense and where you will be fighting for the underdog, this is definitely a solid and well-acted show to see.

  • Johanna

    The Verdict ....Fantastic!! The whole cast was great but Jason Merrells was amazing. Best show we've seen for ages.

  • Showtime!

    Frank Galvin is a lawyer on his last professional legs… and in more ways than one.

    His career stands at five minutes to midnight. The alcoholic legal eagle’s personal life is not even on the scale, and the drink problem’s going from worse to worse.

    Just one more big case, one that might make his name, or even prove to be his salvation… that’s the dream. Meanwhile, the Bourbon bottle stays on his desk within easy reach.

    Like the aging gunslinger in a 1950s black and white western, he waits for the final showdown that might redeem his reputation. And all the while he continues to drink in the Last Chance saloon… waiting, waiting.

    However, destiny would seem to have big plans for Frank Galvin. For one day, he is presented with an opportunity to prove himself, and thereby make sense of his troubled life.

    It comes when the mother of a woman, who has allegedly been the victim of medical malpractice, visits Galvin in his Boston, Massachusetts, office.

    She asks him to get justice for her daughter, who is in a coma brought about, so she says, by catastrophic negligence on the part of hospital medics.

    Galvin realises the magnitude of what he is taking on, which are the massed and densely packed ranks of vested interest.

    As many of us know, all Establishments are at their core corrupt - whether political, business or, in the case of the lower end of the food chain, small town local councillors who try to nobble newspaper editors because they don’t like a columnist’s opinions.

    In this case, it’s the combined forces of hospital bigwigs and the Catholic Church, which will do anything – including setting up a honeytrap – to stop the truth coming out.

    They know that Galvin spends much of his time in Meehan’s Bar and here he meets vivacious barmaid Donna St Laurent (Reanne Farley). Does happiness and personal fulfilment beckon for him? Perhaps, but the jury’s certainly out on that one. We shall see.

    At first, the opposition try to reason with him in the form of oily priest Bishop Brophy (Richard Walsh), who tries to buy off Galvin. But it’s no deal, and so things will now inevitably get nastier... and nastier.

    Jason Merrells as Galvin is a colossus, striding the floor of the courtroom, firing questions and in turn parrying attacks by his foes, led by the poisonous counsel for the defence, J. Edgar Concannon (Nigel Barber).

    Slowly but surely, Galvin chips away at the bastions of power, bringing all the legal wiles at his disposal to lift the Establishment stone and reveal its squirming, grubby underside.

    Merrell’s performance is truly compelling. He never lets up for a single moment, his every shot hitting the target with an unerring accuracy. Even the judge cannot escape his barbs.

    Elsewhere, Lynette Webster’s choice of traditional music confirms the fact that Boston is very much an Irish city, and this provides regular and welcome interludes that neatly break up the intensity of the action.

    And all the while, Michael Lunney’s crisp and well-paced direction keeps us all guessing until the final moments.

    Written by Barry Reed, The Verdict must take its place in the finest traditions of legal dramas and the great courtroom epics of the past. It’s warmly recommended and certainly not one to be missed.

  • Malvern Observer - Euan Rose

    It was good to be back reviewing at Malvern again last night and to see not only the acclaimed courtroom drama ‘The Verdict’ but also how the building of the new foyer to the main house was coming on.

    I am pleased to report that the play was an enthralling watch and the renovations are almost ready for ribbon cutting.

    The Verdict first appeared as a novel written and set in 1980 Boston by Barry Reed, who also had a career as a lawyer.

    It was adapted for film by no less a talent than David Mamet and starred Paul Newman and James Mason.

    This new adaptation for the stage is by Margaret May Hobbs and is being toured by Middle Ground Theatre Company. This is large cast production that does not contain a weak link in the company and whilst it is quite long, the action never lags.

    Jason Merrells – who plays the drunken, washed-up Boston lawyer Frank Galvin – is on stage when you enter the auditorium. He lives in his office where we watch him wash, shave and dress like someone from hostel.

    Apart from one short scene Merrells never leaves the stage till the walkdown in a tour-de-force of a performance.

    Frank is offered a case which he knows could either put him on easy street where he could lead the lounge-lizard lifestyle – or it could break him.

    A young woman has been left in a vegetative state after a medical procedure goes wrong during childbirth at one of the big Catholic hospitals in the city. Her mother wants justice and compensation to give her better care. The church offers her a three hundred thousand dollar settlement and Frank a cushy job in the church legal department.

    In a moment of self-awakening whilst visiting the girl in hospital, Frank decides to take on the might of the Boston medical fraternity plus the Catholic Church itself.

    He is up against one of the best defence attorneys in the State of Massachusetts and a biased judge It also seems his marriage is on the rocks and he seeks solace in a beautiful barmaid with a hidden agenda.

    The scene is set for blistering legal yarn of two halves – the first being the act one build up where we get drawn straight into the plot and meet some engaging players like Frank’s aging mentor Moe Katz (Vincent Pirillo) and Bishop Brophy (Richard Walsh). Let’s not forget Irish bar owner Eugene Meehan played by Michael Lunney who also directs and designs – a three times talented outing.

    The second half in act two is set in the courtroom where we, the audience, are members of the jury. We also meet amongst other talents the ubiquitous defence attorney J Edgar Concannon (Nigel Barber), Judge Eldredge Sweeney (Richard Walsh) and Dr Rexford Towler (Jason Wilson)

    It’s in the courtroom where Merrells really shines as Frank as he finds the inner strength to seek to achieve the impossible and takes us with him all the way.

    Rarely do we get to see such engaging drama on stage and I urge you to get along to Malvern this week whilst you have opportunity.

  • What's On Worcestershire - Sue Hull

    A riveting courtroom drama based on Barry Reed’s 1980 novel of the same name, The Verdict was adapted for film in 1982 and starred Paul Newman, James Mason and Charlotte Rampling.

    This stage adaptation, toured by Middle Ground Theatre Company, stars Jason Merrells, who’s well known for his roles in, among other television series, Emmerdale, Casualty and Waterloo Road. Merrells plays Frank Galvin, a complex yet charismatic lawyer who’s down on his luck and struggling with alcoholism.

    The Boston-located story sees Frank’s former partner and mentor, Moe Katz (played by Vincent Pirillo), send him a medical malpractice case which could easily be settled out of court for a significant amount of money. It’s an easy win-win for all concerned.

    The malpractice case involves Deborah Anne, a young woman given a general anaesthetic during childbirth who was tragically deprived of oxygen and left in a vegetative state after choking on her own vomit during the procedure. Frank is deeply affected after visiting her in hospital. Acting on his own and without the knowledge of Debbie’s grieving mother, he decides to turn down the lucrative out-of-court settlement and take the case to trial...

    Rarely off stage, Jason Merrells is superb as the troubled but likeable Frank, and supported by a strong and impressive cast. This is an absorbing, compelling and splendidly staged production, which, despite being quite lengthy, features more than enough twists and turns to keep you thoroughly engaged throughout. I particularly enjoyed the audience being addressed as the jury in the court-room scene in the second act.

    Is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth told in court? Is Frank disbarred for openly challenging the judge? Does the jury conclude that Debbie’s profound disabilities were caused by an accident or by negligence via the use of an incorrect anaesthetic? See for yourself by catching this moving and exciting play during its brief run in Malvern.

  • British Theatre Guide - Colin Davison

    It’s Boston, Mass., in late 1980. Snow lies on the ground and hard-drinking lawyer Frank Galvin lies on the floor under his office table, emerging for his usual breakfast of Irish whiskey, followed by a mouthwash chaser, to meet his first client of the morning.

    The client is Mrs McDaid, who is having to pay for the care of daughter Debra Ann, in a vegetative state for four years after the delivery of her third child went disastrously wrong at a the local Catholic-run hospital.

    Soon, this David finds himself up against a whole squad of Goliaths—doctors, hospital, Church, the best of the New York Bar Association, corrupt practice, not to mention a hostile judge.

    I love these classic courtroom dramas, and Margaret May Hobbs’s pacy adaptation of Barry Reed’s 1980 novel, later a Paul Newman film, is up there with the best.

    Reed was himself a lawyer specialising in medical malpractice cases, and it shows in the zingy cross-examination and acerbic comments between Galvin and the bench. It’s a good yarn too, with something of a twist, and a heart-rending testimony that eventually determines the case.

    But unlike those old TV series, the play is populated by credible, complex and varied characters, whose personalities are brought to life by a strong cast of 15 actors, headed by Jason Merrells as Galvin.

    Emotional and persuasive, Merrells addresses the audience as if it were the jury, but wins as much plaudits for his chutzpah in brushing up Richard Walsh’s judge Eldredge Sweeney exactly the wrong way. It’s a meaty role that the actor really gets his teeth into, bringing out also the lawyer’s own journey toward the moral high ground.

    Facing him is Nigel Barber as J Edgar Concannon, a hot-shot lawyer who has long ago divorced judicial victory from justice, and who rips into a former nurse, played with great sensitivity by Holly Jackson Walters. Together, they generate an electrifying scene.

    The subtlety of the writing is exemplified and enacted in the differentiated figures of the two doctors, Jason Wilson as an arrogant Towler, with the bedside manner of an irritated snake, Michael Lunney as the anaesthetist with an anaesthetised sense of shame.

    Vincent Pirillo as old lawyer Moe Katz, Reanne Farley as the obligatory 1980s floozie, Sarah Shelton as Debra Ann’s mother ("I don’t want revenge, I want to be able to pay the bills") and Okon Thompson as the expert witness all contribute to feeling one is watching an actual trial from the public gallery.

    Michael Lunney has done an excellent job of tight direction and designing the ambitious set that switches with few hitches between office, Irish-American bar and courtroom.

  • Stage Talk - Tony Clarke

    There has been much debate recently around the relevance and appropriateness of Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men” for a modern audience: should a novella which features racially and culturally offensive language, and which presents outdated and discriminatory views of women, black culture and people with learning and physical disabilities, remain a staple of the GCSE English Literature curriculum? We could ask the same questions of Harper Lee’s “To Kill A Mockingbird”. Noel Coward’s “Private Lives”, the subject of my last review at Cirencester’s Barn Theatre, includes the line “Certain women should be struck regularly, like a gong.” Do literary ‘classics’ still hold a valuable place in a society which no longer reflects the world in which they were written? If the role of a modern playhouse is to provide a blend of contemporary, classic and historical theatre to appeal to a wide audience, then do all plays, from Sophocles to Shakespeare to Stoppard, still have their place, even if they no longer hold a mirror up to the society in which we live..…?

    Whether on stage or in cinema, there is no disputing the compelling power of a courtroom drama. Director Michael Lunney’s production of Barry Reed’s 1980 novel “The Verdict”, initially turned into the 1982 Oscar-winning film starring Paul Newman, before being adapted for the stage by Margaret May Hobbs, is a gripping and redemptive tale of how a washed-up Boston laywer takes on the might of the Catholic church, and a cynical, biased judge, in a medical malpractice case where a young woman has been left in a persistent vegetative state following a routine childbirth at a New England Catholic hospital. The very recognisable and talented Jason Merrells excels as Frank Galvin who, whilst seeking justice for his client, faces his own personal demons of alcoholism and a failed marriage. He is a fundamentally flawed hero, yet Merrells breathes life, honesty and plausibility into this troubled character with a powerful and versatile performance in which he rarely leaves the stage. Elements of the story feel comfortably familiar, perhaps because we recognise them from so many other similar stories, and yet this is an absorbing and engaging performance, if a little long at two hours forty minutes. An experienced supporting cast of fourteen actors combine in an impressive ensemble performance: Vincent Pirillo shows warmth and humour as Galvin’s mentor Moe Katz, Reanne Farley is dynamic as the duplicitous femme fatale Donna, and Richard Walsh doubles up as the corrupt Bishop Brophy and the bigoted Judge Sweeney. Lunney himself stars as affable barman Eugene Meehan.

    Clever split-staging in Act One provides the twin halves of Galvin’s world: his office (which we sense is also his home) and Meehan’s Irish bar, before switching to a lavish wood-panelled courtroom in Act Two, where we are increasingly drawn into the rising tension as the play builds to its dramatic dénouement.

    As with Steinbeck, Lee and Coward, modern audiences will find a few linguistic references culturally obsolete, even unpalatable; the relegation of women to minor characters or a rather clichéd love interest feels very rooted in the early 1980s, and yes, this is a noticeably male-dominated cast delivering a play which stays true to its original source material. But for all this, does this modern, theatrical rendering of a forty year-old novel deserve its place in our theatres today? For me, just like Steinbeck, Lee and Coward, yes it does….but the rest of the jury will have to decide for itself.


Write a Review