REVIEW: Four Minutes Twelve Seconds (Trafalgar Studios)

fPaU8wyfkkf-LxMf0O1ZgPci0hVnF5CWNZRnYyXhVqwIn the age of the ‘selfie’ and ‘sexting,’ as well as the rapid development of social media, it imposes an ever-growing threat more than ever on the younger generation today. James Fritz’ first full-length play, Four Minutes Twelve Seconds, is a compelling drama written uniquely from the point of view of not the criminal, but their elders and ultimately the victims of this story.

Di and David, parents of Jack, set out on a mission to find the culprit who uploaded a sex tape of their son and his girlfriend online. It is Fritz’s consistently driving script with short, strict cuts in the scene changes that drives the story and action forward brilliantly. Bluntly spoken with little embellishment or decoration within the dialogue, it is still rich enough to delve into the issues surrounding today’s ‘selfie’ age, as well as the power dynamic within the ‘generation gap’ between young and old. It also tackles the power dynamic further between the victims, Jack’s parents, also, in which Fritz triumphs.

Jonathan McGuinness and Kate Maravan bring a fiery chemistry to this production, with McGuinness’ composed vocal control a real treat. Maravan’s development of physical presence and vocal confidence is also incredibly engaging to watch. Having said that, Ria Zmitrowicz is a hurricane on stage as Jack’s girlfriend, Cara, providing a vigorous attack vocally towards her accusers and thus becoming incredibly strong in her presence, asserting her power brilliantly without the need to show physical gesture.

Four Minutes Twelve Seconds was a much needed production right now in exploring today’s developing online world but from a different angle. Rather than focusing on the culprit, Fritz chooses to keep Jack anonymous on stage and is never performed by anyone, keeping the focus and tension purely on the victims. Fritz sheds the fat in his script, keeping the dialogue frank yet action packed, establishing himself as a playwright to watch in years to come.

Reviewed by Barry O’Reilly
Photo: Ikin Yum

Four Minutes Twelve Seconds is playing at the Trafalgar Studios until 5 December 2015. Click here to book tickets