Vault Festival Review: Project Lolita
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4/5 In 2020, post-Operation Yewtree, a zero tolerance approach has been taken against those who seek to abuse children. This is the basis for Project Lolita, which exists in a Black Mirror-esque world, where everything is manipulation and no one is being entirely truthful. It is in this context that a relationship develops via homework chat and Skype between Katie, a 14-year-old schoolgirl, and Joe, a 28-year-old former secondary school English teacher (note the ‘former’.) Project Lolita is very much a play that taps into the current media (and by extension societal) obsession with paedophilia and the moral questions surrounding it. Writer and director Sophie Foster freely admits that she was writing in light of Jimmy Saville revelations, and whilst teacher Jeremy Forrest was on the run in France with his 15-year-old lover and former pupil. Initial reactions have often questioned why Foster would take on the subject of predatory relationships, and why an audience would want to watch a play that might seek to justify them – but, like in any narrative that has more than a superficial or reactionary message, of course there are multiple levels to Project Lolita. It would be a huge error to approach it with anything other than a completely open mind. Here is the trailer:
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