In amongst the more controversial theatre on at the Fringe this year we have emerging playwright Sophie Foster’s new work, which dissects the media culture surrounding suspected paedophiles and how the resulting media attention can destroy lives. Approaching the subject with generally well-written and tasteful strokes, the play gives a new platform to discussion on the subject.
While this is a brash and brave run at what is a very difficult and often un-discussed subject matter, the production occasionally falls down in its reliance on often clichéd ‘teenage speak’ (the overuse of ‘obvs’ and ‘lol’ seems a little unnecessary) in the dialogue. This is however pulled through by the pace of the production and the rapidly changing conversations throughout. The staging of actors talking directly to the audience when using facebook to chat and then facing each other when video calling, brings another dynamic to the show and allows the audience to get close up detail of the characters’ intricate nuances and ticks in their delivery.
We see Katie (Charlotte Green) on her bed messaging her tutor, an unemployed teacher who has found solace and friendship in tutoring this girl. The breach of barriers that the audience can recognize is in turn cleverly mitigated by the easy rapport between the two characters and the - at times - genuinely funny dialogue. However, as we learn their friendship is not so innocent, the atmosphere of menace and danger grows throughout. Green plays the character well. The emotional intensity of her character is evident and makes the subject matter of the play even more upsetting.
The play, while being a clever social commentary on the issue, is truly held together by the moving performance of Moj Taylor playing Joe Price - Katie’s tutor. When he increasingly becomes ensnared in the plot against him, Taylor’s acting talent shines through and the line between sympathy and accusation is blurred. As the play comes to a climax, it is hard to look away from the characters lives unfold before you in an exciting and unexpected ending.