From Villanelle to Victim, Jody Comer stunned as a lawyer on the edge: PATRICK MARMION reviews Killing Eve star in new stage drama Prima Facie
Prima Facie (COM)Harold Pinter Theater, London)
We got used to it Jody Comer dressed in a cheeky smile and great dresses while she horribly slaughters people in glamorous places around the world like Villanel.
This is a show about a woman by Australian-British writer Susie Miller, in which Comer plays an idealistic young lawyer specializing in the protection of rape suspects.
Role: Prima Facie is a show about a woman by Australian-British writer Susie Miller, in which Comer plays an idealistic young lawyer specializing in the protection of rape suspects
In a whirlwind beginning, she goes through her usual routine of discrediting victims to get customers off the hook. Blink and miss her as she puts away her wig and dress, rearranges the furniture in her courtroom, and shakes her technique in a deft motion.
The title of the play means “at first glance” and we soon realize that her character’s difficult partying and sexual flirtation with colleagues reflects those of the victims she routinely shares.
Then, one night, she’s out with the seemingly gentle Julian, and the fun becomes awkward when she turns out to be vomiting in her bathroom. He gallantly saves her from humiliation, but then brutally rapes her in a heinous attack, described in relentless detail. Be careful. A little over two years later, her case against Julian comes to court, and now she is the one in the witness box who finds herself in a fog of shock and shame.
Prerequisite: The title of the play means “at first sight” and we soon realize that the difficult partying and sexual flirtation of her character with colleagues reflects those of the victims she routinely shares
Emotional: In a whirlwind beginning, she goes through her usual routine of discrediting victims to get customers off the hook. Blink and miss her as she puts on a wig and dress, rearranges the furniture in her courtroom, and gives up her dexterous technique
The dissociation she experienced during the attack continues, and she finds that the confusion does not make her dishonest. Nor does being raped provide clear or logical evidence.
Comer strikes us with a ferocious, but at the same time forensic execution, which is associated with a snowstorm from rapidly changing perspectives. She puts us in the role of a high-ranking lawyer with her native Liverpool accent and anti-establishment attitude – at one point she throws garbage in the audience. But its abrupt disintegration into a feverish, ashy confusion is seriously troubling.
Although her performance spans a stunning range from arrogant joy to despair and humiliation, it is the theme that dominates the evening.
Press night: Jody dressed in black on Wednesday when she left the Harold Pinter Theater in Piccadilly Circus
Modest: Jody wore a long coat that allowed a glimpse of her comfortable black Converse
Modest: Jody was greeted by a bunch of fans on her departure
Ultimately, however, Miller’s game is kicking open the door. This is rightly a fierce controversy designed to incite anger and resentment.
But questions remain. Is it really more important to give the plaintiffs the benefit of doubt or to study their evidence carefully? And what does “a system of truth defined by men” really mean? It does not take into account the way we get out of the deadlock of the claim and the counterclaim.
However, this is a stunning and punishing production, directed with a painful purpose by Justin Martin. Miriam Butter’s set of walls, filled with white case files, is beginning to look like a cool façade of legitimate authority. But it eventually turns into a building of shameful accusation as the spotlights select individual files one after the other.
Prima Facie – What is the sentence?
Arifa Akbar writes: “Jodie Comer’s debut on the stage in the West End is a baptism of fire by all standards. A play with a woman about a lawyer who specializes in defending men accused of sexual violence until she herself is attacked requires frantic, constant physical and emotional commitment from her presenter.
Dominic Cavendish writes: “The debuts in the West End are not much more amazing than this solo tour of Jody Comer.
“Her performance, after 100 minutes with a full crust, brings her to the forefront of the stage stars.
“It must be said that the 29-year-old Liverpool player seemed unable to make a mistake when it comes to career moves.”
Baz Bamigboy writes: “What a truly stunning debut this is. Komer is phenomenal and commands the stage.
“29-year-old Komer presents himself fearlessly and flawlessly as Tessa, a criminal lawyer specializing in the protection of rapists.”
Andrzej Lukowski writes: “Jody Komer is presenting a tour de force in this slightly clumsy monologue on sexual violence.”
From Villanel to Victim, Jody Comer stunned as a lawyer on the edge: PATRICK MARMION
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