Consent is a play by Nina Raine that tackles sexual politics in its various levels, whether that be in law or in personal relationships. The play is thought provoking, challenging to watch at times and brilliantly performed and written.
Kate Coogan’s direction is great. The decision to put the play in the round works well to show how the characters feel trapped in their situations of injustice. Some moments were confusing though as to whether the scenes were 2 conversations in different locations happening at the same time or whether they were both happening at the same time in the same place.
Brianna Douglas make a very good Zara. Although she is quite underused in the play, her performance is strong and she is perhaps one of the most likeable characters in the piece. Eve Shotton gives a fantastic performance as Rachel. Although she doesn’t get a huge amount of the stage time, in the time she does get she is fantastic to watch. Joe Pass does a good job as Jake. His onstage relationship with Shotton is believable, although it would have been nice to see the ups and downs of the relationship on stage a bit more. Pass’ performance in the scene where he’s learnt he’s being divorced is particularly impressive. Tom Sturgess’ performance as Tim was exceptional. He fully embodies his character and his performance is completely believable. Paul Dorsey’s performance as Edward was very strong and fully believable. The character was completely rounded and felt like a real human, as with most of the characters thanks to Nina Raine’s terrific writing.
For me, the two stars of the show were Bex Culshaw as Kitty and Kaitin Michaels as Gayle. Culshaw’s performance felt very natural and she portrayed the conflict and difficulties that Kitty has with great honesty. Michaels’ performance was truly spectacular. Although she isn’t used a huge amount, the scenes she is in are truly impressive. Her portrayal of the character’s sadness and anger is completely believable and she never goes too far with the intense emotions.
The only issue I had with this play was that it felt like some storylines were left untied. Gayle is left in a position of injustice, but this could have been the point to show the flaws in the legal system. It also leaves Kitty and Edward’s relationship in a position where you want to know more and see how their relationship either develops and splits completely.
Consent is a challenging, emotionally intense and thought-provoking play with a superb cast. If you can catch it at the Hope Street Theatre this week, I would highly recommend you do. http://hopestreettheatre.com/whats-on/
Reviewer: Jacob Bush
Reviewed: 2nd October 2019
North West End UK Rating: ★★★★