Consensual by Evan Placey is a racy, modern piece, tackling issues such as underage sex, child abuse, and the fine lines between consent and grooming, and between mutual desire and taking advantage. The story follows 22-year-old Freddie as he makes allegations against heavily pregnant Diane, 7 years his senior and his former pastoral teacher: Freddie asserts that when he was 15, he had sex with Diane, for which she should be punished, given that he was too young to legally ‘give consent’.
Set in the school classroom, in Diane’s home, and at Freddy’s brother’s garage, the actors rally together, clearly have fun with the witticisms in the script, rapping their way through modern pop songs, twerking on the chairs, and sparring with each other during PSE class.
The first half of this bold new play takes us through both Freddy and Diane’s turmoil as they navigate the minefield of legalities surrounding grooming, healthy relationships, and a past that Diane would rather keep hidden. The second half is comprised of a two-hander between the two, taking us back to that fateful night at Diane’s flat, and what really happened between student and teacher. Both Lauren Lyle as Diane and Oscar Porter-Brentford as Freddy impress, and this play really is a vehicle for these bright young things to flex their acting muscles. Lyle in particular is a name to be watched.
Directed with brave abandon by Pia Furtado, this ensemble piece is both funny and horrific, and suggests that when it comes to consent, nothing is ever black and white, but at least 50 shades of grey.
Review by Amy Stow
Think of Sexual Relationship Education as a war zone and you’re the journalist. Give the facts, show the photos, but don’t get too close unless you want your head blown off.”
As Head of Year 11 Diane is meant to be implementing the new ‘Healthy Relationships’ curriculum. But then Freddie arrives. She hasn’t seen him since that night six years earlier when he was fifteen. She thinks he took advantage of her. He thinks she groomed him for months. But neither is sure.
The National Youth Theatre presents an explosive and thought-provoking piece of new writing from Evan Placey (Writers’ Guild Award winner) exploring what happens when buried secrets catch up with you. But when it comes to sex and consent, are there really any blurred lines?
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West Street, London, WC2H 9ND
Running Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
Show Opened: 18th September 2015
Booking Until: 2nd December 2015