Tickets and more information: https://www.londonboxoffice.co.uk/consent-tickets
Running until: 11th August 2018
Production photos by: Johan Persson
Consent was a particularly fitting choice of a play for me to go and see on the eve of the referendum in Ireland AND before GDPR came into play. After premiering at the National Theatre last year, the decision to move Nina Raine’s play into a bigger West End theatre could not be more relevant thanks to the Times Up and #MeToo movements. The main storyline in Consent follows two barristers, Ed and Tim, who are working on a case about a woman who was raped and parallels how sexual politics affects their personal life, their working life and the people around them.
I read the play earlier this year and I thought it was going to be a truly hard-hitting watch. But I didn’t expect to find myself laughing at some scenes. At quite a lengthy run time of 2 and a half hours, I found the wit and humour of the play to be an integral part in ensuring the play doesn’t drag, which it doesn’t. What also helps is the entire ensemble of actors are absolutely gripping to watch, including a very cute, tiny baby who appears at the start of the play.
Stephen Campbell Moore is an undeniable stand out as Ed, who, in my opinion, ends up the furthest from where he starts. One of Ed’s earliest scenes is him questioning a victim on whether she had really offered her consent to her attacker. But when a secret is revealed, his marriage to Kitty (played by the excellent Claudie Blakeley) blows up after years of repressed feelings come out, Ed begins to question his own sexual politics. Both Moore & Blakeley are an excellent match and perform with a great deal of rawness that really grounds their characters and makes them human. Ed and Kitty go through a similar journey to another couple in the play, Rachel & Jake, played by Sian Clifford and Adam James respectively. I found director Roger Michell often made the interesting choice to keep the couples on opposite sides of the stage, particularly evident in the second act, as if they were looking at their own reflections in a mirror. The cast is rounded out by Lee Ingleby as barrister Tim who has his own relationship drama to deal with between Kitty and Zara, an actress played brilliantly by Clare Foster and Heather Carney who doubles as Gayle, the victim whose rape case is on trial during the play.
Overall, I found Consent to be a really gripping play with truly excellent performances from a brilliant group of actors (and yes, that includes the baby). Nina Raine’s play could not be more timely and as I write this review, the news recently that broke that Harvey Weinstein has officially been arrested for multiple sexual assault crimes, bringing relief to his victims. Maybe one day, all victims will be able to have that relief.
Until next time,