The Nether

I went to see The Nether recently and I have not been so provoked and intrigued by a play for some time. 

The Nether is the internet of the future where people are able to create virtual worlds for themselves - where they can interact with avatars in a parallel world. The play is set in a woman detective's office where she is interviewing men about their nether world which is a belle époque house that includes a pretty but worldly pre-pubescent girl. 

After a while, and it takes some time before you realise what is going on, it becomes aparent that these men are using the nether to create a world where they can have sex with children - and then kill them with an axe. It is only a fantasy world and there are no 'real' victims.

This is heavy stuff and the moral dilemma    is interesting. Is it better for these men to act out their fantasies in this nether world rather than doing the real thing to real children? Is what they are doing criminal when there are no victims? Is the nether world a place for laws and morality? 

Curiously the play is not prurient - but an extra layer of diconcertment is added by the presence of the child actor. It is a tightrope well walked.

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