Was the jury out for Jodie Comer's West End debut in Prima Facie?
The show is playing now in the West End
Sarah Crompton, WhatsOnStage
"Jodie Comer has the ability to communicate many conflicting emotions simultaneously: she is funny when she is vomiting down a loo, but also utterly vulnerable and terrified; when she describes her mother she is both loving and ashamed.
"Each thought and emotion registers not only in her face, but in her body. She seems to imprint things onto herself before speaking. By the end of the play, she doesn't even look like the woman who began it."
Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
"A one-woman play about a lawyer who specialises in defending men accused of sexual assault, until she is assaulted herself, it demands frenetic, non-stop physical and emotional engagement from its lead.
"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. Directed by Justin Martin, Comer's Tessa Ensler is a ruthlessly competitive young barrister with a sly wit."
Ava Wong Davies, The Independent
"When Tessa decides to take her rapist to court and becomes the witness – and is cross-examined by a patronising, vicious QC – Comer is alternately steely and impassioned, noble and embarrassed, flustered and composed. It's a remarkably agile performance.
"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."
Dominic Maxwell, The Times
"If you're one of the fans who have already made this West End run a sell-out — give or take day seats, returns and a weekly ticket scheme, with a cinema broadcast to come — rest assured you are in for something special. And if the play itself, first seen in Sydney in 2019, is unabashedly driven by an agenda that Comer's character has then been created to serve, it still makes its point in style."
Dominic Cavendish, The Telegraph
"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."
Andrzej Lukowski, 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.