Review: The Verdict, New Theatre

The Verdict, Tuesday 7th February, New Theatre. Reviewer: Sarah Harris

Ever been part of a jury? Well, this is your chance. The Verdict at Cardiff’s New Theatre is based on the 1982 Sidney Lumet film. Set in America, the play follows the story of Frank Galvin, played by Clive Mantle, a former lawyer and newly-turned alcoholic who’s life is in despair until he takes on a lawsuit that changes everything.

Imagine going in to hospital to deliver your third child only to end up losing all bodily function and never being able to leave. Would you fight for the person this happened to? Frank Galvin is adamant on making sure his client gets the justice she deserves, despite the fact that his case is against some of the most powerful organizations in the state. Clive Mantle does an outstanding job in portraying Galvin’s alcoholism and genuine passion towards the case. Although I admit, the first half of the play does start off a little hesitantly, it rapidly picks up and leaves you at the edge of your seat with the emergence of new twists around every corner. Cassie Bancroft who plays the role of waitress, Donna St Laurent, adds a touch of femininity and romance to the serious tone of the play with her charm and enthusiasm towards Mantle’s character. Moe Katz, presented by Jack Shepherd, plays a close second to Mantle in being the star of the play with his boyish personality and wit. For someone like me who went to see the play knowing very little about the plotline other than the very basics, the play was most definitely not a disappointment. Using the audience as the jury was a clever move on the part of the director, Michael Lunney, as it left everyone in the room feeling involved and personally touched by the emotions being thrown across the courtroom.

New Theatre is infamous for showcasing adaptions of famous films and Broadway hits and this was probably one of the best performances I had seen at the theatre. For a moment I even forgot I was watching a play and thought I was in an actual courtroom. Mantle and Shepherd are most definitely worth going to see if not for the heart-wrenching storyline itself!

by Sarah Harris