THEATRE REVIEW: Consent ★★★★★
Dorfman Theatre, The National Theatre London
Thursday 13th April 2017
Set around the tale of a lady called Gayle (Heather Cranley), who is a victim of rape, Consent lets us peer into the lives of the barristers of the case, Jake (Adam James) and Tim (Pip Carter), as well as their friends and family, who include Jake’s wife Kitty (Anna Maxwell Martin), her childhood friend Zara (Daisy Haggard), and best friends Edward (Ben Chaplin) and Rachel (Priyanga Burford). What unfolds in this 2hr 20min production is an intense look into what Consent actually means to these characters, as well as how the case affects their relationships with each other.
Consent personally to me is one of the most compelling pieces of theatre that I have seen in recent times, and having the production set in the round really heightens this theory due to the intimacy of the actors who are surrounded by the audience; furthermore, sitting up on the balcony peering over watching the performance almost made me feel intrusive into these characters lives and the themes of deceit and trust with one another unfolded on stage. A huge factor of what made this production so beautifully brilliant was the sheer talent that was on stage, each performer fully carrying the weight of their characters on their shoulders throughout the whole run with such conviction that it really made me love and hate each character at different points throughout the performance for the actions that they conceived, to which none are shown on stage but described so vividly on stage that it does not leave much to the imagination.
One thing I did not expect from the production was just how much the audience and myself laughed throughout, because even though I would have seen this play as being a very straight play before sitting down to watch the performance, the way the actors managed to bring the words to life on stage with their variety of mannerisms and characteristics at times had me howling with laughter, especially with Ed (Ben Chaplin), who brought so much sarcasm to his portrayal.
One of the best pieces of british theatre I have seen in a long time, Consent throws the audience straight into the action with such clarity of each character that you are immediately drawn into the action of stage in this intimate production to which I would recommend highly to anyone with the thought of going to watch this production.