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A Liverpudlian who has risen from her working-class roots to the exalted status of defence barrister, Tessa Ensler is a ball of legal fire. In the first half, Comer throws herself into the role, words pouring out in torrents as she moves around the stage in flurries of action.
She questions a witness while providing a running commentary on how she is manipulating the mood before jumping onto the long tables and celebrating another win with some hard clubbing.
Specialising in rape and sexual assault cases, she knows precisely how to prise apart the victims’ claims, inserting doubt about the circumstances and character of the accuser. But, when she finds herself the victim of a similar case, the tables are turned and she forgets how to respond to her interrogator.
On the set of towering walls of white files and large desks, Comer is lively, funny, sly and self-congratulatory in the first half, shuddering into reverse in the second act when she is mired in a situation that she has exploited in the past.
If Miller’s play is too transparently issue-based, it is to Comer’s credit that she breathes fiery life into the character, delivering an astonishing tour de force.
PRIMA FACIE is at Harold Pinter Theatre until June 18 Tickets: 03330 096 690
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