- The Stage - https://www.thestage.co.uk -

Consensual review at Soho Theatre, London – ‘cracking performances’

Evan Placey’s 2015 play for the National Youth Theatre, [1] revived here by the NYT Rep Company as part of their 2018 West End season, is full of compelling ethical knots.
It ripples with muscular dialogue, and Pia Furtado’s production is superbly performed by a talented young cast. Not everything works though.

Freddie, a 15-year-old schoolboy, has had sex with Diane, a 22-year-old teaching assistant. The first half of Placey’s play takes place seven years in the future, following the fallout when Freddie reports the incident to the police, accusing Diane of grooming him. The second, much shorter half travels back in time to the night in question: the actual events unfold before the audience’s eyes.

There’s some really challenging stuff here – questions about what constitutes consent, about when we reach sexual maturity, and about when a caring student-teacher relationship crosses the line – and Placey handles it all with a deft touch.

But tonally, both the play and Furtado’s production are all over the place, jumping from comedic classroom banter a la The History Boys (which is admittedly great fun) to deadly serious debate without warning. The production is also interspersed with unnecessary dance sequences and is awkwardly static on Cecilia Carey’s shallow set.

Nothing but praise for the NYT cast, though. A few notable mentions: Fred Hughes-Stanton, fantastically feverish as Freddie; Marilyn Nnadebe, compellingly conflicted as Diane; and Alice Vilanculo, show-stealingly funny as a teenage girl in over her head.

Verdict
Compelling but flawed revival of Evan Placey’s 2015 play, with some cracking performances from the NYT Rep company  

Production

Production
Consensual
Venue
Soho Theatre
City
London
Starts
October 22, 2018
Ends
November 9, 2018
Press night
October 25, 2018
Authors
Evan Placey
Director
Pia Furtado
Set
Cecilia Carey
Lighting
Jess Bernberg
Sound
Matthew Bugg
Stage manager
Dougie Wilson (company stage manager), Ruth Collett (deputy stage manager)
Cast includes
Isabel Adomakoh Young, Jamie Ankrah, Aidan Cheng, Olivia Dowd, Fred Hughes-Stanton, Simran Hunjun, Muhammad Abubakar Khan, Marilyn Nnadebe, Jay Mailer, Leah Mains, Oseloka Obi, Laurie Ogden, Francesca Regis, Jeffrey Sangalang, Alice Vilanculo, Christopher Williams
Producer
National Youth Theatre Rep Company
Running time
2hrs 5mins