Consent (National Theatre)

As the title suggests – Nina Raine’s new play tackles some serious and not easily tackled topics… what the title doesn’t allude to however is just how ruddy fantastic it is.

There is so much going on here. Two or disintegrating marriages. Legal manoeuvring. A rape case in which two barrister mates find themselves as opposing council – their verbal posturing and ego mania briefly obscuring the fact a young woman’s life and reputation and sanity is being toyed with.

Anna Maxwell Martin has rightfully come in for a lot of praise for her complex performance as the wife of the defence barrister who’s relationship with her husband also raises questions about the play’s title, but for me the play’s absolute stand out is her husband played deliciously by Ben Chaplin who oozes rich and charming as easily as he depicts a broken husk. Simply, he is wonderful and he makes Raine’s machine gun dialogue whistle past our ears.

Roger Michel directs with such a deftness of touch that it seems effortlessly natural.

An absolute must see.


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