Previewed 28 March 2017, Opened 4 April 2017, Closed 17 May 2017 (in repertory) at the National Theatre's Dorfman Theatre
Previewed 18 May 2018, Opened 29 May 2018, Closed 11 August 2018 at the Harold Pinter Theatre in London
Nina Raine's new play Consent in London - transferring to the West End following an acclaimed sold-out run at the National Theatre during 2017
Friends Ed and Matt take opposing briefs in a rape case. The key witness is a woman whose life seems a world away from theirs. At home, their own lives begin to unravel as every version of the truth is challenged.
A powerful, painful and funny play that sifts the evidence from every side and puts justice in the dock. Is Justice blind, is it impartial, or is it blinkered?
The cast in the West End at the Harold Pinter Theatre features Stephen Campbell Moore as 'Edward', Claudia Blakley as 'Kitty', Adam James as 'Jake', Sian Clifford as 'Rachel', Heather Craney as 'Gayle', Lee Ingleby as 'Tim', and Clare Foster as 'Zara'. Directed by Roger Michell with sets by Hildegard Bechtler, costumes by Dinah Collin, lighting by Rick Fisher, music by Kate Whitley, and sound by John Leonard.
When this production opened here at the Harold Pinter Theatre in April 2017, Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail praised how "Nina Raine has written a high-octane, highbrow, high-tension play about yuppie London lawyers... Miss Raine skilfully creates a world in which everything has more than one side... To accompany the spare, taut writing, director Roger Michell conjures a swish, minimalist production." Dominic Maxwell in the Times thought that "Nina Raine creates an unforgettably complex, blackly comical and affecting picture of logic and articulacy duking it out with unruly emotions and messy reality... Jammed with ideas, rich with humanity, Consent is a modern classic." Sarah Hemming in the Financial Times wrote that, "though there are some plot twists too far and some convenient coincidences, Nina Raine's writing is sharp and witty enough to weather them. This is a vivid, thoughtful and immensely resonant play and Roger Michell's deft, subtly acted production keeps you gripped throughout." Dominic Cavendish in the Daily Telegraph described how "Nina Raine forensically examines the way the legal profession uses technicalities and rhetorical tricks to arrive at a fixed-seeming summation of the 'truth' without justice necessarily being served, or the story fully told. The evening is slick and entertaining when it needs to be but for every comic touch there's a telling glance and dark hint of sadness." Fiona Mountford in the London Evening Standard said that "we feel the joins, the disparate narrative elements struggling to achieve equilibrium and, above all, the clumsy device of a working-class female rape victim being wheeled on to flag up the oratorical heartlessness of two middle-class male lawyers... The legal and emotional strands don't always plait together and a succession of short scenes takes a long time to spark into full, blazing life. The conclusion remains as hard to believe... What, however, is thrilling is the skill with which Nina Raine undercuts a serious argument with humour."
Claudie Blakley's West End credits include 'Michelle' in Sean Foley's production of Francis Veber's The Painkiller at the Garrick Theatre in 2016; 'Tessa Kendrick' in Lyndsey Turner's production of Lucy Kirkwood's Chimerica at the Harold Pinter Theatre in 2013; 'Helena' in Gregory Doran's revival of Shakespeare's All's Well That Ends Well at the Gielgud Theatre in 2004; and 'Masha' in Dominic Dromgoole's revival of Anton Chekhov's The Three Sisters at the Trafalgar Studios in 1999.
Stephen Campbell Moore's London theatre credits include 'Joe Schofield' in Lyndsey Turner's production of Lucy Kirkwood's Chimerica at the Harold Pinter Theatre in 2013; 'Karl/Steve' in Dominic Cooke's production of Bruce Norris' Clybourne Park at the Wyndham's Theatre in 2011; and 'Chris Keller' in Howard Davies' revival of Arthur Miller's All My Sons at the Apollo Theatre in 2010.
Adam James' West End stage credits include'Dr Walker' in Conor McPherson's Girl from the North Country at the Noel Coward Theatre in 2017; 'Prime Minister Tristram Evans' in Rupert Goold's production of Mike Bartlett's King Charles III at the Wyndham's Theatre in 2014; and 'Richard' in Nina Raine's Rabbit at the Trafalgar Studios in 2006.
Originally seen at the National Theatre's Dorfman Theatre (previewed from 28 March 2017, opened on 4 April 2017 and closed on 17 May 2017 - played in repertory) when the cast featured Ben Chaplin as 'Edward', Anna Maxwell Martin as 'Kitty', Adam James as 'Jake', Priyanga Burford as 'Rachel', Heather Craney as 'Gayle', Pip Carter as 'Tim', and Daisy Haggard as 'Zara',
When this production opened at the National Theatre's Dorfman Theatre in April 2017, Dominic Cavendish in the Daily Telegraph said that "Nina Raine has taken a hot topic - the clue's in the title - and produced a tense, entertaining modern-day tragi-comedy... stylishly directed by Roger Michell, and designed with beauty and economy by Hildegard Bechtler." Paul Taylor in the i newspaper wrote that "only a highly intelligent author such as Nina Raine can evoke the terrible insufficiency of intelligence alone - and of all the brainy talk that it generates - to save the souls of anyone... Directed by Roger Michell with a wonderfully light-footed nippiness as it darts around among the domestic landmines, the play ripples out to cover ordinary marital misery... Unreservedly recommended." Neil Norman in the Daily Express thought that "Nina Raine's play is rather too aware of its structural and linguistic symmetry and the gender divisions are calibrated with textbook precision... Despite being overstuffed with ideas, it is a smart and viciously entertaining evening." Ann Treneman in the Times held that "it's slightly too clever and the director, Roger Michell, needed to balance the acts better: the first half is crowded, the second too sparse. This play is legal gold, though. Its strength lies in the way it shows us the tricks of the barrister's trade." Henry Hitchings in the London Evening Standard described it as "a probing look at the justice system, its impersonal procedures and sometimes tenuous connection with truth... Yet more than anything Nina Raine is interested in language, which lies at the heart of every legal case and proves so worryingly slippery." Ian Shuttleworth in the Financial Times commented how "unfaithfulness - real, attempted and imagined - among these two couples and a third seethes with issues of morality and emotional engagement, nicely contrasted between private and professional lives."
"Nina Raine's hideously enjoyable tragicomedy scrutinises lawyerly mores and what exactly people consent to when they go to court... New parents Kitty and her husband, Edward, are the witnesses and adjudicators of the fraught marriage of two intimate friends, who are also barristers. But there are tiny tremors in their own relationship, as Kitty is drawn to the prosecutor in a casually discussed rape case Edward is defending. By the time we meet the complainant, the stage is set for retaliation, retribution and failures in empathy all round. The playwright bounces a drama about middle-class professionals off the suffering presence of a working-class character who doesn’t get a fair hearing. There are implausibilities, but Roger Michell directs with his usual style and substance, and Raine ribs our adversarial judicial system mercilessly." The Sunday Times
"If a woman's been drinking how can we trust her version of what really happened when a bloke climbed into her knickers? That's the unspoken suggestion from Ben Chaplin's urbane defence barrister Ed in Nina Raine's new play as he cross-examines a woman who accuses her neighbour of rape. Not that Ed cares either way. He just cares about how to use words and inference to win a case. Raine's needle-sharp, often very funny play examines the slippery relationship between language, meaning and power, be it in the courtroom or the front room of Ed and his wife Kitty's very middle-class new house. Raine maps out the treacherous emotional battlefields between Ed and Kitty, their friends Rachel and adulterous Jake, and Tim and Zara, where the game-playing with ideas of truth and retributive justice will culminate in an accusation of marital rape... Roger Michell's supremely well-acted production also flirts dangerously with the tedious style of theatre in which well-educated people make articulate points while drinking white wine. It survives that risk thanks to Raine mercilessly skewering her characters' self-deceptions. Definitely recommended." The London Metro
Consent in London at the Harold Pinter Theatre previewed from 18 May 2018, opened on 29 May 2018 and closed on 11 August 2018