Review: Agatha Christie’s Verdict at the Devonshire Park Theatre by Laura Sonier

THERE are none of the pyrotechnics, either physical or emotional, which usually accompany a murder mystery on the Devonshire Park stage; no gunshots, squeaking doors or claps of thunder.

Verdict is a much quieter affair, more concerned with the morality of the decisions we make when trying to do good and the execution of justice.

Indeed, it is not a ‘whodunnit?’ and scarcely even a ‘will they get away with it?’.

Professor Hendryk (Robert Duncan) leads a quiet, cerebral life as an academic teaching his adoring pupils about moral philosophy.

But when his invalid wife Anya (Cassie Raine) dies in sudden circumstances, after he is convinced - against his better judgement - to take on a new, demanding pupil (Holly Goss), the professor’s principles are put to the test.

Is it morally better to be true to your loved ones and bend one’s ethics - or to stick to your guns and make life difficult, uncomfortable or even dangerous for friends and family?

The women around the idealistic professor - the ruthless pupil, the judgmental servant Mrs Roper (Elizabeth Power) and the devoted Lisa (Susan Penhaligon) - all have different views about what is the right thing to do, but what will Professor Hendryk’s verdict be? And the verdict of the courts?

Verdict has some fine performances, one wavering accent and a layered, restrained - yet not exactly thrilling - story.

It may not get the audience jumping in their seats, but it might get them thinking.

There are evening performances of Verdict on Friday and Saturday (7.45pm) with a Saturday matinee at 2.30pm.

Call 412000 for tickets.