The Prudes Is A Bravely Funny Play About Sex In All Its Lights And Shades

The Prudes, Royal Court Theatre ★★★★☆

BelindaL
By BelindaL Last edited 7 months ago

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The Prudes Is A Bravely Funny Play About Sex In All Its Lights And Shades The Prudes, Royal Court Theatre 4
Photo: Manuel Harlan

The Prudes may be about a couple who have hit a dry spell in their physical relationship, but the prudishness is all ours.  Sex may be everywhere on stage and screen, but sex in its complex, dark, confused form, we are not so used to seeing and it taps into something shared and human in the intimate space of the Royal Court upstairs.

James (Jonjo O’Neill)and Jess (Sophie Russell) haven’t had sex for 14 months and 4 days. Jess is determined to set this right and demands they must have sex this evening, gesturing ridiculously to the audience as the witnesses.

Photo: Manuel Harlan

The fourth wall in Fly Davis’s giant pink cake-like set is broken often. As the two teeter towards the goal of the night, we’re invited into their psyches and the sources of their downward spiral. James is by far the most guilt-ridden, holding a lantern as the lights go down, his vision of the situation as literal nightmare.  His fantasy is for her to dress up as Wonderwoman, but he feels tortured at the patriarchal bent of his desires, at odds with the love and respect he holds Jess.

Anthony Neilson’s razor sharp wit takes us skilfully to the edges of tragedy and memory and the twisted roots of desire, but never further than we are comfortable with. About sex and what happens to it after 40, The Prudes is a bravely funny play about sex in all its lights and shades.

The Prudes, Royal Court Theatre, Sloane Square, SW1W 8AS. Tickets from £15. Until 2 June 2018.

Last Updated 27 April 2018