The Prides, 4****, London

London.
THE PRUDES
by Anthony Neilson.

4****

Jerwood Upstairs, the Royal Court Theatre, Sloane Square, London SW1W 8AS to 2 June 2018.
Mon-Sat 7.45pm Mat Th & Sat 3pm.
Runs 1 hr 15 mins No interval.

TICKETS: 020 7565 5000.
www.royalcourttheatre.com
Review: William Russell 25 April

A stag at bay in a blistering comic battle

It is 14 months and four days since Jess and Jimmy have had sex and they are going to remedy the situation right now in front of the audience – that is if they ever stop talking. Anthony Neilson’s latest play is a savage and very funny look at the male animal and how the female animal reacts to what he gets up to. The women in the audience doubled up with delight most of the time as the barbs are hurled by the warring pair – the men just cowered.

Jonjo ONeill (Jimmy) creates a splendid baffled stag at bay not at all sure why it is he can no longer rise to the occasion even if he still loves his Jess, played with exquisite relish by Sophie Russell. Among other things he suggests a little role play. She jibs at putting on a nurse’s uniform suggesting maybe something a little more progressive, but eventually agrees to do what he wants, leaves to reappear as Wonder Woman, which does not help our limp hero one little bit. They fight, verbally and physically, he suddenly acquires an erection and is suitably embarrassed an unable to put it to use because it is just too much for his male pride to admit he needs any assistance. How did he get it when he has dismissed using Viagra as impossibility? Jess knows a thing or two about that.

Both sexes will probably squirm, although the men will squirm most, as Neilson, who also directs, delivers the truth about men and women, about how relationships can go stale, about what you do in the name of having sex, in truly devastating style. Russell is a force to reckon with as Jess, while O’Neill is surely the saddest sack of all time as the not facing up to reality Jimmy.

Jimmy: Jonjo O’Neill.
Jess: Sophie Russell.

Director: Anthony Neilson.
Designer: Fly Davis.
Sound Designer: Nick Powell.
Costume Supervisor: Gina Lee.

2018-04-27 10:08:59

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