Former judge back in court in Witness for the Prosecution

Former judge back in court in Witness for the Prosecution

Michael Pattwell (former judge) who plays Sir Wilfrid Robarts, QC Senior Counsel; Jim O’Mahony, who plays Mr Mayhew, solicitor for the accused; Raymond Brothers, who plays Mr Justice Wainwright, the judge; Jean Van Sinderen-Law, who plays Romaine Vole and Ber Madden, proscecution counsel. Picture: Jim Coughlan

FORMER judge Michael Pattwell is returning to the courtroom.

Onlookers would have been forgiven for thinking he had reclaimed his old position just a few days ago when he stepped through the courthouse doors in Washington Street for dress rehearsals of the Agatha Christy play, Witness for the Prosection.

UCC professor and theatre director, Finola Doyle O’Neill, who is heading the production, approached Mr Pattwell to play the role of QC Senior Counsel, Sir Wilfred Robarts.

Produced by Brenda Lynch and stage managed by Dolores Dermody, the production will play out like a real court case in the courtroom where Pattwell once served as a judge.

It focuses on a veteran barrister defending his client after he becomes embroiled in a murder trial. “I acted for 21 years when I was working,” Mr Pattwell joked.

Hard

“I’ve really no idea why Finola asked me to take on this role. To be honest, I’ve actually found the acting harder than being a judge.

Michael Pattwell (former Judge) who plays Sir Wilfrid Robarts, QC Senior Counsel. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Michael Pattwell (former Judge) who plays Sir Wilfrid Robarts, QC Senior Counsel. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

“The most difficult part has to be remembering lines and learning all the theatrical phrases. Trying to get the English accent right is also a huge challenge. I often end up sounding more like John Wayne.

“Much of my time now is spent watching programmes like Midsummer Murders to pick up the English pronunciations.”

Mr Pattwell’s confidence in his acting abilities is growing with every rehearsal. “This is my first day in costume. Being in costume definitely focuses you better on the task at hand.”

The Corkman always had an interest in pursuing acting.

“I’ve been busy all my life, so it was something I never got round to,” he confessed.

“I’m getting a bit old, but when this is over I’ll be left with a few more friends and you never refuse friends.”

Raymond Brothers will play the judge in the play. “He’s a very experienced actor who has appeared in a number of Shakespearean plays, so I don’t think he’ll need any advice from me on how to play the part of a judge,” Mr Pattwell said.

The courthouse will host a number of performances including on Friday, September 21 at 5.45pm and 8.25pm and a further two on Saturday 22 at 5.45pm and 8.15pm.

For more information or to purchase tickets email f.doyle-oneill@ucc.ie

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