Wednesday, 30 July 2014

THE AGE OF CONSENT presented by Doris Day-Release Productions
Nottingham Lace Market Theatre.

Written by Peter Morris, this has nothing to do with the age of consent but of us being in an age of giving consent, but it will all become apparent if you go along and see it.

There are two characters who deliver two monologues which intertwine throughout the play.Timmy, who is due to be released back into a world that he is no longer familiar with after being in a correctional facility for the last nine years. The other is Stephanie, a pushy stage mother who will do anything to get her six year daughter into show business. Both characters are dangerous to an extent but while there are similarities between both, the play also shows a very great difference between the two.

The play which caused uproar and controversy when it was first performed back in 2001 at the Edinburgh Festival, just after the release of Jamie Bulger's killers, may have lost some of it's controversy, but has definitely not lost its' ability to split an audience and provoke discussion. I noticed a few audience members at the end of tonight's performance who may have been too shocked to applaud. Maybe they didn't enjoy what they saw or maybe they disagreed with the content, who knows, whatever the reason this play sparked conversation and reaction which is how theatre should be!

Gordon Cullen played Timmy with great emotion and really brought out the human side of the child killer, expressing regret and a realisation of the crime he committed. I found myself feeling sorry for Timmy, not for what he had done but for the fear of not being treated as a normal person in a world that had changed greatly from the world he previously knew. While there is no condoning Timmy's actions, you do grow to understand that Timmy, who is due to be released, is not the same Timmy who went in to the correctional facility.

Stephanie, portrayed by Sophie Tilley, on the other hand was the character I felt was the more dangerous of the two. As Stephanie's monologues flow you get to see  where the danger started to emerge, but oblivious to the character who really did believe that she was doing the best for her six year old daughter. While there is no mention of what we think may have occurred, the monologue plants those horrific seeds in your mind when you start to spot the signs of Raquel, the daughter's behaviour.

Both actors delivered a harrowing, at times uncomfortable but thought provoking 90 minutes of excellent theatre, sensitively directed by Neil Duckmanton.

"The Age Of Consent" is at the Lace Market Theatre until Friday 1 August 2014

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