Great performance and characterisation in this hard hitting and current play from the strong and tightly bonded 2018 NYT company.
This is a West End standard performance of Evan Placey’s play back in London at the Soho Theatre after its 2015 run.
The audience is drawn in to the classroom environment by these up and coming actors from the National Youth Theatre right from the beginning with the students coming on and off the stage with their phones as soon as we sat down in the theatre. The music, rapping and dancing and a simple set complimented the action and dialogue very well.
Evan Placey’s play revolves around what constitutes sexual “consent” as seen through the story of a teacher and her past student meeting years later with an allegation of rape from the student when he was 15 and she was 22.
The audience feels sympathy and horror alternating with black and white merging to grey over this topic at every turn. It raises questions which are difficult to answer such as where should the line be drawn in the teacher and student relationship. We see teachers with good intentions trying to help and getting burned in the process and being investigated, suspended or at threat of losing their jobs, the danger of keeping secrets and what impact this can have on relationships and 15 year olds acting like adults one minute and like children the next. Yet despite all the challenges and heightened emotions which we see and experience ourselves watching the play, real love and the desire to be loved are also portrayed and come through all the anger and sadness. NYT company manage this balance which reflects real life very effectively.
From the very beginning of the play right through to the cheering at the end I really felt the strength of what the NYT stands for – to inspire and support young actors while putting on hard hitting and relevant plays such as this. Over the years, the NYT really has built up a whole community of loyal supporters thanks to putting on strong productions such as this.
By Maddie Cordes
The National Youth Theatre continues to perform Consensual at the Soho Theatre until the 9th November. For more information visit: https://www.nyt.org.uk/consensual