If your thirty year old son reveals to you that they have fallen in love with an eight year old, how would you deal with that? That is the question asked in Nicky Silver's darkly compelling Beautiful Child, which receives its UK premiere at the Fringe this year.
Harry and Nan are already in a troubled relationship, bound more from tolerance than sense of love. Nan has only just become aware of Harry's neurotic mistress, Delia, when their son, Art Teacher Issac seeks refuge following the shocking revelation of his involvement with one of his own pupils.
Even though Issac's dreadful admission throws the couple into turmoil; they arrive at a shocking conclusion that brings them closer together.
The script is sharp and strongly performed by a team of five highly talented actors. Emily Murphy finds Nan's sardonic intelligence from the start, and Charlotte Brookes as the maladjusted Mistress Delia peppers the tricky subject matter with humour at just the right moments. Alex Eisenberg takes on the challenge of Issac, who is psychologically damaged enough to be understandable if not sympathetic. It is a subtle and gentle portrayal of someone considered a monster by the rest of society.
Directors Lucy Van Den Heede and Richard Weinman have done an excellent job.