Never have I seen such a brilliant, powerful representation of the “Me Too” movement on Broadway as I did with the new one-woman Broadway tour-de-force “Prima Facie,” starring Jodie Comer, playing at the Golden Theatre (W. 45th Street). 

This is the thoughtful, clever, witty, devastating, captivating work of Suzie Miller. The playwright gives us the riveting story of Tessa, a lawyer (barrister) who is a defense attorney to men who commit sexual assault. For 100 minutes, Miller takes the audience on a stirring journey of a girl who came from a humble background and found herself gifted and able to excel in Ivy League settings. She found herself propelled and determined to succeed and view the world only through the law. She learned exceptionally well how to play the legal game and detach from what she was doing.

Everything in the character’s life seemed logical and going well. She didn’t see the law as a patriarchal system that could impede her in any way. She didn’t acknowledge the side of the law that attacks women who are victims of assaults to both their physical bodies and their emotional stability. She didn’t acknowledge that those women were metaphorically raped again by a court system that places no value on their word and testimony, but instead moves to humiliate and shame them all over again, ripping their dignity, self-respect, and sense of self from them and letting their offenders cheer their own victories.

Miller’s play depicts a woman who was brilliant, confident, well-versed in the law, but made a victim of the crimes she has defended others for and finding herself humiliated and degraded as she had done to so many women before. She finds herself coming to the realization that the system is tragically broken. 

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This play is a clarion call to say that laws and the courts are built against the victims of sexual assault, and that a man’s ability to dominate a woman and do what he will to her without any consequences is considered acceptable. Sitting in that theater, you watch this character undergo a devastating metamorphosis. You hear graphic details of all that she experienced and how the system was turned against her. 

Comer gives a spellbinding performance; her Broadway debut is truly award-worthy—indeed, as of press time, she received her first Tony Award nomination for best performance by an actress in a leading role—and the unrelentingly powerful direction by Justin Martin is tremendous. 

You will leave this production realizing the statistics on rape for women and knowing that something has to be done to protect the rights of women from the predators that the laws and courts choose to protect. The sustained energy, physicality, and sharing of the journey of this character is a powerful testament to the phenomenal acting chops of this dynamic actress. “Prima Facie” is a must-see!

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