Trigger Warning: sexual assault, rape.
Anyone who knows me will gladly tell you that I love the theatre. After being in multiple plays during my school years, forcing my sister and cousin to sing musicals or act scenes with me, and writing my own plays (which will never see the light of day) it is safe to say that I have a connection to the stage. Prima Facie was one of those pieces that held me captivated.
Jodie Comer, known by many for her performance as Chloe in My Mad Fat Diary or more recently Villanelle in Killing Eve, makes her West End debut in one of the most heart wrenching performances I have ever seen.
I, somewhat naively, entered the small Curzon cinema to see a live recording of this play with no more information than as follows: it’s a one-woman show, there’s a lawyer of sorts, and it has Chloe from My Mad Fat Diary. I will ultimately forever be grateful for that one friend who dragged me along.
The plays website summarises the show: “Tessa is a thoroughbred. A young, brilliant barrister who loves to win. She has worked her way up from working class origins to be at the top of her game; defending; cross examining and lighting up the shadows of doubt in any case. An unexpected event forces her to confront the lines where the patriarchal power of the law, burden of proof and morals diverge.”
Tessa’s character is strong, confident, cocky and hilarious as she tells the story of how she got to where she is. With Jodie’s characterisation, we are taken through her day-to-day life as a barrister, meet her mother, see her progression through law school and see her reaction to an event 1 in 3 women experience.
Within the plays stories the audience is given the chance to experience a sexual assault case through the eyes of a victim as well as a defence attorney and are left questioning the very system used to persecute those who break the law. The audience sees how someone who is trained to play the system is broken by it. The audience sees how it is the victim is the one on trial not the aggressor. The audience sees how the current system in place for prosecution is inadequate.
Through one talented actor we hear the voices of many, taken through multiple journeys and are forced to see the injustices. Or as Tessa would say “now you see, you can’t not see”.
Ultimately, a fantastic play that I encourage you all to see.
Tickets can be found here.