FOUR MINUTES TWELVE SECONDS
by James Fritz.
Trafalgar Studios (Studio 2) 14 Whitehall SW1A 2DY To 5 December 2015.
Mon-Sat 7.45pm Mat Thu & Sat 3pm.
Runs 1hr 30min No interval.
TICKETS: 0844 871 7632.
Review: William Russell 12 November.
Pertinent play for a social media-obsessed society.
David and Di are a London suburban couple proud of Jack, their clever teenage son. All their hopes are invested in him. Jack is university material. One evening he comes home from school having been beaten up. David tries to pass it off as one of those things that happen to kids nowadays, Di persists in asking why, and their lives unravel.
James Fritz’s play provocative and powerful play is very much a play for today. It is about how social media, particularly its misuse by those who do not understand it, affects all our lives.
Gradually, in a series of bruising encounters between husband and wife, we discover that Jack was beaten up by the brother and father of his ex-girlfriend, Cara. But why? Then we learn that a video showing them having sex is out there on the internet, and that, while they had slept together before with his parent’s consent, this time it was not consensual.
Di feels something has to be done, but what? Go to the police and destroy their son’s future? Is he a victim or an abuser? Appeal to Cara, a sullen, bitter and furious person, or to her violent parent who bullied David when they were schoolboys years before, to forgive and forget? Is Cara a victim, or did nothing happen and the tape lies? And how did it get out there?
Fritz manipulates the audience’s sympathies with skill and, at the same time, passes a chilling verdict on the damage to people’s lives unthinking use of social media can inflict. It is a taut evening, the spring of the plot being tightly wound, and there are revelations in plenty as David and Di work out what to do about Jack.
Kate Maravan as the tortured Di fighting to rescue her son dominates the stage throughout, but she gets splendid support from Jonathan McGuinness as the weak and devious David and Ria Zmitrowicz as the angry Cara who alone knows just how much harm has been done.
Di: Kate Maravan.
David: Jonathan McGuinness.
Cara: Ria Zmitrowicz.
Nick: Anyebe Godwin.
Director: Anna Ledwich.
Designer: Janet Bird.
Lighting: Mark Howland.
Sound: Sarah Weltman.
Associate director: Sophie Boyce.
Associate designer: Anna Bliss Scully.