Only Connect Theatre, King's Cross
Have you ever played the future me game? You project all that you are capable of into a potential - rather than dealing with the reality of the actual - you who makes mistakes, trades in deliberate misunderstandings and hurts the ones you love. In this play, our protagonist has to deal with the consequences of past-me actions that become more horrifying as the play opens out.
Peter is a high flying lawyer, living life high on the hog and thinking of moving in with his journalist girlfriend, Jenny, when his computer sends a disturbing and illegal picture to everyone in his email contacts.
What follows is a slick and intelligent drama for grown-ups willing to think clearly about forbidden desire, rehabilitation and forgiveness; and while not explicit - audience imagination stands in for actual facts - it feels like an honest exploration of the issues surrounding paedophilia and the easy access to child pornography via the internet.
Cast and crew do a fine job of turning a white, galleried space into the various locations; the set changes are terrifically stylised - with actors remaining in character while precisely shifting furniture.
Initially the vocal levels are too high, as if the cast haven’t yet been able to adjust to the room’s acoustics. Nothing makes you shrink back into your seat faster than an actor who's over-projecting - it distracts from story they are trying to serve. Fortunately, the play soon pulls you back as it weaves its dense narrative.
Stand-out turns in a good cast (led by Rupert Hill as Peter and also featuring David Benson) are Katherine Dow Blyton, faultless as Ellen, who is a much better actor that her soapy background would credit; and Tom Newman, who gives a heart-breaking performance as Harry, a vulnerable prisoner if ever there was one.
Is it possible to create a future-you after cataclysmic desire destroys lives? And furthermore, can you even deserve the forgiveness that people find so impossible to bestow? Writer Stephen Brown has created a dense, thought provoking and time-twisting tale that lingers in your mind long after the journey home. So while it isn’t a comfortable evening at the theatre, I highly recommend that you go and experience it.
- Radica Anikpe