Reputation or rather loss of it has been a common theme in English literature for hundreds of years but James Fritz's new play has a distinctly modern take on the subject.
David (Jonathan McGuinness) and Di (Kate Maravan) have a 17-year old son Jack who is about to take exams and has a life full of promise and opportunity ahead of him. We never see Jack, this is his parents' story about how they deal with something he has done something that can't be undone because it is on the internet. Something that could damage his reputation forever.
It is a parents nightmare but not one David and Di ever imagined having and to make matters worse, as the full extent of what Jack has actually done is slowly revealed, their view of their son is challenged.
Fritz's play is brilliantly written, sharp, funny and dark. At first David and Di seem like typical parents. They disagree, Di overreacts, David says the wrong thing and from the guffaws among the audience there is plenty that can be identified with. But it isn't just Jack's reputation that is threatened, his parents marriage is put under great strain by the events.
At first they will do anything to protect their son against what they see as an injustice and juggle the pro's and con's of official channels versus more direct action. But revealing conversations with Jack's friend Nick (Anyebe Godwin) and his ex-girlfiend Cara (Ria Zmitrowcz) put their son in a different light. David and Di's response to the revelations and strategy for dealing with the situation are revealing in themselves. Fritz raises important questions about teenage attitudes towards sex and the internet. He also challenges class stereotypes revealing how prejudice can lead to injustice.
Four Minutes Twelve Seconds deftly weaves humour with some of the darker aspects of society creating a piece that is funny, shocking and thought-provoking. It is 90 minutes long and well worth a look. You can catch it at the Trafalgar Studios 2 until 5 December. It transferred from the Hampstead Theatre where it enjoyed a sell out run.