I went to a verbal critique session with the Monmouth Writers last night. Haven't been to the Manalapan venue since last July, so it was good to see some familiar faces, and make some new friends. While chatting afterwards I got into a discussion about the benefit of a verbal critique, as opposed to a written one.
Compared to the in-depth analysis of a written critique, it's easy to dismiss the value of a 'gut' reaction, which is what you get when your work's read out and immediately measured/judged/dismembered , but I think both have their uses. A written critique is invaluable for help with format, style, and comments/suggestion about where the story worked or didn't, but you won't get that from your target audience. All the reader cares about is whether they 'got into' the story, or not. It helps to get that immediate feedback .
I recommend both.