Rose theatre, London
Alys Metcalf’s drama is packed with quips and playfully directed but gets lost when the action moves to the bedroom
A vengeful female lead in a tight bright dress stalks an older but powerful man late at night. There’s a whiff of Killing Eve to Alys Metcalf’s smart thriller, which energetically explores ideas around sex and consent, agency and gender. The play has been co-produced by Francesca Moody, who has a great eye for contemporary dramas that jolt and unsettle, including Fleabag. All the signs point towards a fierce feminist drama but Leopards, despite some lovely prowling, never quite purrs.
The earlier exchanges are intriguing, as twentysomething Niala and successful charity CEO Ben meet up for a drink in a strange hotel bar, which designer Lily Arnold has filled with sharp angles and yawning spaces. The two have supposedly met to see if Ben might have a job for Niala but it’s not long before the conversation is laced with the promise of sex.