Thanks to London Box Office they offered me a complimentary ticket to attend the Harold Pinter Theatre to review Consent. A play by Nina Raine.

Billed as a Tragi-comedy this play does certainly bring you humour whilst we enter into the worlds of the three couples who harbour secrets of their own amidst the backdrop of a rape case. Lives glittered with personal destruction brought on by indiscretions and the effects of that on the seemingly ‘innocent’ victims. Friends taking sides and forming opinions. Taking those opinions once held so strongly and twisting to their own defence when needed, Suddenly their take on situations change.. suddenly how could it be just?

Played against a backdrop of a rape case this play attempts to bring to life and to the audience the realisation that the legal system isn’t as straightforward when it comes to rape and the issue of Consent. How is it that a victim’s background is taken into consideration when being disproved and yet the accused past isn’t? How is that victim is unable to tell her defence barrister information that may help her?

Later on when the accused subject of marital rape is himself the accusing barrister of the previous case suddenly the versions of what happened between the couple vary. Whose truth is correct? How could it possibly have been seen as this? How then does it turn to personal accusations and mental state of health?

For me, however, I would rather this play look at the issue in depth, rather than what I believed to be a backdrop and foundation for the play. This for me was a story more about the personal issues suffered when indiscretion enters into a relationship and the effects that has on those involved.

All three couples are friends.  Edward and Kitty are parents to newborn, in a new house. Kitty struggling with her husband’s previous infidelity five years previous struggles to forgive. Jake and Rachel fellow barristers and friends – Jake himself an adulterer we see how he works through being found out and how they get on with their lives. Tim and Zara a barrister and actress respectively together seem happy, but Tim has always had a thing for friend Kitty and so intertwined these lives become.

The story and the way it intertwines into each person’s life, differences of opinion and sides taken, finding a laugh in the worst situations was intriguing and interesting enough to watch itself.

I will say the casting was brilliant and I am sold by every character in this play when it comes to chemistry and friendship. Adam Jones is brilliant as the Macho, Arrogant and almost carefree Jake – of whom I thought most likely to be the accused rapist at the start. (which he turned out not to be) his wife played by Sian Clifford gave as good as she got. Claudie Blakely and Stephen Campbell Moore fantastic as warring couple Kitty and Edward. Lee Ingleby as Tim the quieter and non-intrusive barrister with his partner Clare Foster as Zara of whom seems like the only one who is innocent out of everyone and is the victim of everyone else’s actions.

This was an entertaining production to watch and with the current movement of #TimesUp gives it a very apt and relevant subject matter in today’s society for discussion. However, I felt it glazed across the issue of consent and never explored it far enough. The cast however ensured that the play kept us engaged and for that reason still scores well.

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