The critics have reviewed Prima Facie starring Jodie Comer at the Harold Pinter Theatre in London, and here’s a round-up of the reviews.
Jodie Cromer is the BAFTA and Emmy Award-winning star of Killing Eve. In Prima Facie she plays brilliant young criminal barrister Tessa, who finds herself not in total command of the law and she usually is, when she becomes a plaintiff in a rape trial.
This multi award-winning play by Suzie Miller provides Jodie Comer with a tour de force role.
Directed by Justin Martin, Prima Facie has set and costume design by Miriam Buether and lighting by Natasha Chivers. The play is running at the Harold Pinter Theatre in the West End for 9 weeks until 18 June 2022.
Check out reviews, below, from the Guardian, Times, Telegraph and more.
Prima Facie reviews
"Jodie Comer on formidable form in roaring drama"
"The Killing Eve star makes a masterful West End debut in Suzie Miller’s play about sexual assault and the legal system"
"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."
"Comer’s performance compensates for the clompy-footed parts of Miller’s script, which falls into a loudly lecturing tone at the end. But Prima Facie’s final messages are urgent in highlighting who our laws fail to protect. If they are delivered in hammer blows, there is power in hearing them spoken on a West End stage, and Comer manages to infuse breath-taking emotional drama in every last word."
"Shapeshifter Jodie Comer takes the stage by storm"
"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."
"Is the legal system ill-equipped to offer justice for the one in three women who have been sexually assaulted? These 100 minutes of stage time make a strong case, which might make it an impassioned yet over-instructive evening in lesser hands. With Comer at its centre, Justin Martin’s inventive, propulsive production clears the space for its closing arguments thanks to the vividness with which it draws us into Tessa’s upturned world."
"Jodie Comer’s brilliant West End debut is like a punch to the guts"
"This solo piece at the Harold Pinter, in which Comer plays a lawyer who is raped, reveals the the Killing Eve star as a natural on stage too"
"West End debuts don’t come much more astonishing than this solo tour de force by Jodie Comer. In Prima Facie, she plays a London criminal barrister complacently expert in sexual assault cases, who unravels after she’s raped by a work-colleague, and during the pitiless ensuing trial. Her performance, running a full-pelt 100 minutes, propels her into the front rank of stage stars."
"If there’s an issue with the play it’s that in its final epilogue, it bluntly avows that need for systemic change, effectively demanding our indignation, whereas that concern bubbles up quite naturally in response to what we witness. Though the presentation of what happens to Comer’s thirtysomething character – Tessa Ensler – unambiguously shows her as a rape victim, Miller’s slant, and Comer’s portrayal, still teem with rich nuance, testing sympathies."
"Jodie Comer blazes with fury in a patchy sexual assault drama"
"Suzie Miller’s play doesn’t offer much fresh perspective – but the Killing Eve star is utterly terrific"
"Miller – herself a former lawyer – doesn’t offer much fresh perspective, despite some harrowingly vivid detail; there’s none of the knotty complexity of Consent, Nina Raine’s much better 2017 play on the same subject."
"Miriam Buether’s design – with its hefty mahogany furniture and towering stacks of case files – makes a solid, conventional setting. But Martin’s production is caught slightly awkwardly between realism and expressionistic flourish."
"omer is always compelling, as she fights to cling on to her belief in justice, the life she’s built and her sense of self. If the play, for all its conviction, sheds little new light on an egregious – and worsening – issue, she blazes."
"An extraordinary Jodie Comer exposes our broken legal system in a striking if tidy drama"
"In her West End debut, the ‘Killing Eve’ star is steely, agile and remarkable"
"It’s hard to believe that Prima Facie marks Jodie Comer’s West End debut, given the command the Bafta winner has over her audience from the moment she strides onstage. Comer doesn’t drop the ball for a second of the play’s 100 charged minutes. She plays Tessa, a defence barrister who specialises in defending accused rapists. Her life, ethics, and belief in the system that she’s spent her entire career upholding comes crashing down when a fellow lawyer rapes her."
"The production itself is full of striking elements: musical compositions by Rebecca Lucy Taylor (aka pop star Self Esteem) throb and hum like a pulsing vein, and Miriam Buether’s set design initially places Tessa in a vast library, surrounded by legal documents. The walls around her then fall away, leaving her stranded in an inky void. Perhaps it’s a mite too emphatic, but it’s potent nonetheless."
"Jodie Comer is better than we’ve ever seen her in West End debut"
"The Killing Eve star is what we’re here to see in this one-woman show about a barrister who is sexually assaulted - and she delivers"
"Killing Eve star Jodie Comer absolutely storms the West End in this one-woman show, playing a barrister specialising in sexual assault cases who is herself then raped. Her working-class character Tessa Ensler starts off as an exuberant ball of energy, swaggering and shimmying around a set lined with legal files, glorying in her ability to navigate the hierarchy and the technical nuances of law."
"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."
"Jodie Comer gives a tour de force performance in this slightly clunky sexual assault monologue"
"It’s a personal triumph somewhat mitigated by the fact that the play she’s chosen is pretty clunky. But ‘Prima Facie’, by Aussie writer Suzie Miller, is impassioned and about an important subject, and let’s be honest, in ‘Killing Eve’ Comer could always spin gold out of material that got pretty ‘mixed’ as the seasons wore on. Here, Miller gives her everything she needs."
"However, 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."
"Jodie Comer makes blistering West End debut in repetitive drama"
"Killing Eve star Jodie Comer makes a blistering West End debut in this new 100-minute monologue, playing a slick working-class criminal defence lawyer, Tessa, with a knack for successfully defending those accused of sexual assault."
"... the more her play channels self-righteous anger, the more theatrically"
"It’s the sort of theatre that derives its power by flattering its audience into thinking they are on the right side of history, rather than, you know, by providing them with a decent play."
"Killing Eve's Jodie Comer makes an astonishing West End debut"
"After impressing on the big and small screen in the likes of Killing Eve, Jodie Comer has just established her self as a major new force in theatre with a staggering virtuoso display in this powerful and thought-provoking new play about sexual assault and the legal system from Australian playwright Suzie Miller."
"Jodie Comer is a tour de force in Prima Facie at the Harold Pinter Theatre"
"A Theatrical Neophyte With the Know-How of a Pro"
"Comer is cool and commanding as a defense lawyer named Tessa"
"Comer plays to all levels of the theater, often sweeping her gaze upward as if to enlist us as her jury. And though she speaks the text at breakneck speed, there’s no denying the visceral power of an evening that owes its sellout status to a theatrical neophyte who possesses the know-how of a seasoned pro."