Love London Love Culture’s Emma Clarendon rounds up the reviews for Suzie Miller’s solo show starring Killing Eve’s Jodie Comer.
The Guardian: ★★★★ “Comer delivers. She roars through Suzie Miller’s script. The play roars, too, sometimes too loudly in its polemic, but Comer works overtime to elevate these moments.”
Evening Standard: ★★★★ “It’s an extraordinarily gutsy and rich performance by Comer in only her second ever stage role – the first was in Scarborough 13 years ago, when she was 16 – and it confirms her as a star. Suzie Miller’s script is a great vehicle rather than a truly great play, however – shrewd and economical in its analysis of how the system treats assault survivors, but schematic in its plotting.”
The Times: ★★★★ “If you’ve seen Jodie Comer play the murderous Villanelle in Killing Eve you’ll know she is a gifted shapeshifter. Nothing, though, can quite prepare you for the range, energy, resilience, emotional clarity and sheer presence she offers in this play by the Australian lawyer turned writer Suzie Miller.”
The Metro: ★★ “Perhaps this is indeed the impact on women who have experienced sexual assault; certainly one can’t argue with the validity of Miller’s points. Yet the more her play channels self-righteous anger, the more theatrically deadening it becomes.”
Time Out: ★★★ “It’s understandable that Comer wanted to kick off her stage career with a meaty 100-minute monologue about something she feels passionate about. If all famous actors simply went for the best play possible, we’d be stuck with even more bloody Hamlet. With Prima Facie, Jodie Comer had something to prove about herself, and something she wanted to say about the world, and she’s done both.”
British Theatre.com: ★★★★★ “Forget the cold sadistic clotheshorse Villanelle from Killing Eve. Actually, forget all Jodie Comer’s screen awards. This extraordinary West End stage debut reveals not only strong vocal skill (something not universal in those best known onscreen) but an absolutely dazzling physical expressiveness and high-voltage emotional power. It feels as if she has been pulling houses to their feet for decades – utterly in charge in a mesmerising solo tour-de-force that never flags in 95 minutes.”
The Reviews Hub: ★★★★★ “Prima Facie comes with several trigger warnings that many will find deeply affecting and upsetting, but it is also important for theatre to challenge, provoke and advocate for urgent change. Justin Miller’s direction is extremely pacey, inventively using Miriam Buether’s set to move around the space and create the illusion of people, places and institutions crowding in on the protagonist.”
London Theatre.co.uk: ★★★★ “Throughout this 100-minute piece, even in its weaker moments, Comer is absolutely riveting. She uses her shape-shifting talents to great effect, sketching in numerous other characters – from her posh colleagues to her abrasive mum and combative brother. She also gives Tessa a vivid emotional journey. To begin with she’s funny, fast-talking and bold, dancing badly in a club or diving into a new case with intellectual zeal.”
Culture Whisper: ★★★★ “Prima Facie is an important, timely drama about consent that makes the point perpetrators in cases like Tessa’s doesn’t always fit the profile you’d expect. Let’s hope as many men as women fill up the auditorium each night.”
City Am: “But the weight and strength of dialogue creates genuine, sustained tension throughout. A thunderstorm recreated as effectively as any thunderstorm could be on stage offers the only moment of respite for Comer, who darts into the wings for under a minute to dry off. Miller’s gripping story is only occasionally challenged by Comer having a lot of logistical scene-setting to get through, without any help from co-stars. This occasionally takes away from Comer’s more pivotal role of acting out the actual trauma inherent within the text, but this is possibly more difficult for Comer than the audience.”
iNews: ★★★ “At its best, it suggests the way in which personal catastrophe can seem to make the whole world tilt on its axis and make the familiar look strange: a chair becomes a witness box, torrential rain pours from the ceiling. At its worst – Comer leaping onto the desk in an excitable recollection of past glories – it’s a little clumsy.”
The Arts Desk: ★★★★★ “Comer, of Killing Eve fame, portrays Tessa with captivating ease, modulating gracefully between different facets of her professional and personal life. She treats the items in Miriam Buether’s imposing but agile set with confident playfulness: whether shifting around and standing on her desks, excitedly pulling folders from the surrounding shelves, or turning her chairs into witness stands, she owns the space. Her Tessa is not only a gripping storyteller, smoothly embodying a range of characters, but also a compelling commentator on the workings of the law.”
The Telegraph: ★★★★ “West End debuts don’t come much more astonishing than this solo tour de force by Jodie Comer.”
Prima Facie will play at the Harold Pinter Theatre until 18 June 2022.