REVIEW: Consent at The Loft, Leamington
CONSENT is probably one of the least fluffy dramas you’re like to see performed by a non-professional theatre company.
Written by Nina Raine, it premiered at the National in 2017 – when it garnered glowing reviews, but has remained pretty untouched since.
Understandable really, its tricky subject matter, sexual consent, doesn’t exactly shout ‘entertaining evening ahead’.
Barristers and friends Edward (Dave Crossfield) and Tim (James McCabe) take opposing briefs in a rape case. The rapist is let off after the victim (Julie-Ann Randell) is vilified for being drunk at the time of her ordeal and for having a brief past depressive illness.
The trial seems a kind of point-scoring sport to the laddie lawyer mates Ed and Tim, whose own relationships, and those of their friendship group, are then put under the magnifying glass in the ensuing domestic drama.
When Ed’s wife Kitty (Ruth Herd) accuses Ed of marital rape, the debates of the courtroom become all too real.
It’s hard-hitting often brutal stuff, but it’s also a tragi-comedy so there are moments of levity, and the superb cast, under the direction of Tara Lacey, make it eminently watchable.
In particular, as Edward and Kitty’s marriage breaks down, Crossfield and Herd give raw and harrowing performances as the dinner party jollity gives away to #metoo-era reckoning.
A vibrant and smart take on a crucial issue.