David Benson and Rupert Hill in Future Me
Peter has a pretty good life. He's a successful lawyer, has a funny, intelligent, beautiful girlfriend and plenty of friends. Friends with email addresses. Email addresses that one day receive an accidental message from Peter, with an attachment of child pornography.
Future Me takes an all too believable look at what it's like to be the girlfriend, the brother, the friend, the parent of a paedophile, and what it's like to be the paedophile himself. We follow Peter through his time in prison and the people he meets, and what happens when he is released. It could easily be the most harrowing, wrist-slashing thing you've ever seen, but playwright Stephen Brown knows that "monsters don't get close to children, nice men do" (from an interview with lead actor Rupert Hill - yes, from Corrie). He's created a set of characters who deal in black humour and snappy, realistic dialogue as they struggle to deal with who they are and what they've been through.
The Only Connect theatre (run by a creative arts company working with prisoners and ex-offenders) is what's probably termed an 'intimate' space. You're never more than a few feet away from the stage and at times the actors can look you directly in the eyes. The play and Guy Retallack's direction make you confront your own opinions and attitudes as you feel, viscerally, for these people.
The cast of six give uniformly excellent performances, but they have great material to work with. It can be uncomfortable viewing, both in the content and when you find yourself laughing, but that's surely the point. Go and be challenged, be - something we never thought we'd say of a play about paedophilia - entertained.
Future Me runs until 26 April at Only Connect, 32 Cubitt Street WC1. For more information visit the Future Me website.