The Verdict – Gripping Courtroom Drama at Wolverhampton Grand

You may know of ‘The Verdict’ from the 1982 film starring Paul Newman in a tour de force role that brought him yet another Oscar Nomination. The story of an alcoholic lawyer reduced to ambulance chasing for cases, who decides to fight a case of malpractice that could be settled out of court, is firmly in the proud tradition of courtroom dramas. And now, in the hands of Clive Mantle and Jack Shepherd, the play version which is currently playing at the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre, delivers a powerful punch as it shows how fatal mistakes can be covered up, and that those you trust with your life may just be undeserving of that trust.

Set in 1976, four years after Deborah Ann Doherty suffered irreversible, devastating brain damage during the delivery of her baby, The Verdict is a story of malpractice, and human redemption. Mrs McDaid, Deborah’s mother, wants to provide care at home for her daughter, and to look after her grandchildren. Her lawyer, Frank Galvin, a barely functioning alcoholic, thinks the case can be the answer to his problems, it will be easy to settle out of court, and the money will alleviate his own personal problems linked to the rent of his office, his family and the IRS.  But a visit to see Debby in hospital changes his mind on settling out of court, even when Bishop Brophy (Richard Walsh in one of two roles) offers a cheque for $300,000 and a new professional role. Galvin decides to fight the malpractice case for $5 million, but this is never going to be a fair fight, as his witnesses disappear and the Judge seems set on hindering his case. Can justice actually prevail for Deborah Ann?

This is a play dominated by two central performances. Clive Mantle dominates the stage as Frank Galvin, his height and build giving him a real physical presence, and his portrayal of a man falling apart physically is raw and powerful. Jack Shepherd, as Moe Katz his former partner and best friend, is perfect foil – a tea drinker who has to stay calm for the state of his health. Jack’s quietly sympathetic performance works so well, especially in his poignant scene with nurse Mary Rooney (Veronica Quilligan).

The beauty of ‘The Verdict’ is the attention paid to the lesser roles, the performances truly stay with you. In particular, Hannah Timms as Natalie Stampanatto who beautifully brings to life the pain of a nurse who did nothing wrong, and yet lost her career, and Okon Jones as Lional Thompson MD, a doctor for hire in the witness box maybe, but one who brings class and humour to the proceedings.

The first half of The Verdict is a little slow, if truth be told, but that is more than made up for with the blistering second half, with courtroom scenes that enthrall and bring the audience to the edge of their seats. The ending is neat and satisfying too.

THE VERDICT

Wed 3 May – Sat 6 May

Click here for ticket information

Interior dreams focus – bathtubs

Question – where do you go in your home when you really want to relax? For me, the answer is always the bathtub. I fill it with hot water and beautifully scented bubbles, take a good book and a glass of wine, and I lock that door. For thirty minutes or so I am in my own world, away from the family, social media, the telephone, and anything else that might disturb me. I chill and relax, and, at the end of it, I feel ready to face the world again. My bathroom is a form of sanctuary, and my bath is the place where I can find a bit of peace and quiet. A shower probably gets you cleaner, but a bath cleanses mind and body, and would be my choice every time.

Whether you have a corner bath, a whirlpool bath, a stand alone tub, or a walk in bath, your bath can be your own slice of heaven. Size should not make any difference – a corner bath may take up less space, but have built in seat options that make it so comfortable. Disability should also not be a reason to not have a dream bath, companies like Premier Bathrooms have a range of beautiful and luxurious walk in options that are practical and brilliant for those with mobility issues. Your bath can be modern and minimal, or as ostentatious as you would imagine Kim and Kanye choosing, it is totally up to you.

If I’ve not yet convinced you that you should pay extra time and attention to your bathtub, maybe a little trip down Hollywood memory lane might change your opinion. When I think of glorious baths in movies, I think of Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra, or the glamorous Margot Robbie covered in bubbles with a glass of Champagne and scented candles. Think of showers on the other hand, and I struggle to get further than Janet Leigh meeting a sticky end in Pyscho.

So, if you are looking at sprucing up some of your interiors this year, take a closer look at your bathroom and your tub. You know you deserve it.

Golden Globes 2017 – Best Dressed

Last night saw the start of Awards Season in Hollywood, with the awarding of the annual Golden Globe Awards which honour the best in film and television from the previous year. As always. the Golden Globes are all about the fashion, as well as being a pointer to who might win big at The Oscars next month.

I have to say that from a fashion point of view, the awards were a little disappointing. I was unimpressed with the likes of Nicole Kidman and Zoe Saldana, both reliable fashionista’s who failed to shine on the night. I also thought that this was a show that missed real fashion moments that usually come from the likes of Cate Blanchett, Angelina Jolie, Naomi Watts, JLo and Gwyneth Paltrow  – non of these ladies were in attendance.

Even amongst the dresses we did see, I was disappointed in general. I loved the colour and design of Jessica Chastain’s dress, but wished it wasn’t quite so ‘booby’ – a little more fabric would’ve totally nailed old Hollywood styling. I really liked SJP paying tribute to Carrie Fisher with her Leia-esque hair, and the dress was stunning, but I can’t think it would’ve been even more beautiful without the sleeves.  I’m still torn by Sienna Miller’s dress – was it cool and understated, or a little too ‘beachy and underdone?’ Best Actress Emma Stone looked beautiful in a sea of stars, but it was a little underwhelming if I’m honest.

So what did I love? Well, my favourite colour is yellow so I was loving the looks from Viola Davis, Maisie Williams and Reese Witherspoon. Special mention must go to the beautiful Natalie Portman, nominated for playing Jackie Kennedy and totally channeling that Camelot, White House style. Mandy Moore and Kristen Bell both wore black, plunging dresses with aplomb, they were just super stunning and hair and make-up was perfect.

Art Deco is my era of choice, so I love Drew Barrymore in her unusual white and silver dress. Naomie Harris flew the flag for Britain in a slinky metallic column dress, whilst there were princess moments for young stars Hailee Steinfeld and Lily Collins.

What was your favourite dress from this year’s awards?

Kristen Bell
Mandatory Credit: Photo by REX/Shutterstock (7734773dc) Kristen Bell 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 08 Jan 2017

Mandy Moore

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Naomie Harris

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Claire Foy

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Drew Barrymore

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Amy Adams

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Natalie Portman

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 08: 74th ANNUAL GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS -- Pictured: Actress Natalie Portman arrives to the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 8, 2017. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/NBCUniversal/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

Lily Collins

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Regina King

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Sarah Jessica Parker

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 08: 74th ANNUAL GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS -- Pictured: Actress Sarah Jessica Parker arrives to the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 8, 2017. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/NBCUniversal/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

Thandie Newton

Mandatory Credit: Photo by REX/Shutterstock (7734773eu) Thandie Newton 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 08 Jan 2017

Jessica Chastain

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 08: 74th ANNUAL GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS -- Pictured: Actress Jessica Chastain arrives to the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 8, 2017. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/NBCUniversal/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

Brie Larson

Mandatory Credit: Photo by REX/Shutterstock (7734773fo) Brie Larson 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 08 Jan 2017

Kerry Washington

Mandatory Credit: Photo by BEI/Shutterstock (7734784ho) Kerry Washington 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 08 Jan 2017

Emma Stone

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Blake Lively

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Sienna Miller

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 08: Actress Sienna Miller attends the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 8, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Reese Witherspoon

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Viola Davis

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Maisie Williams

74th Annual Golden Globe Awards, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 08 Jan 2017

Hailee Steinfeld

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Jim Smeal/BEI/Shutterstock (7734775hf) Hailee Steinfeld 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 08 Jan 2017