It's problematic, offering critical comment on the work of someone you know.
Attending is a risk. Suppose it's terrible? The brutality of a written review is such that even when 245 words are positively screaming the piece's virtue, the five are important.
Friendships crack. Fracture. The silver is tarnished.
Angela Clarke would, by many objective measures, not be considered one of my friends.
She has written a column for The Wharf for many years, both before I was and, for at least five of the seven years since I became, deputy editor.
During that time, she and I have enjoyed an almost entirely digital acquaintance.
We've met twice, to my recollection, once at a Christmas party and for a few moments before The Legacy's first performance in Islington. I fled at the end.
However, we are Facebook friends. She knows bits of my life; I know bits of hers.
We spar on Twitter. Make jokes on status updates. I'm fond of that.
Like many of my relationships, I find it hard to define, but it isn't nothing.
Why bore you with all this? I believe in honesty.
You'll suspect some bias. Perhaps you're right. I hope not.
The reason for that is it might get in the way of your decision to go and see her brilliant, tight and uncomfortable play.
We meet three charicatures. Adam (Jim Mannering) some City high-flier who barely registers his wife and kids due to the pressures of his job and manning-up for
His spouse, Bex (Lucinda Westcar), the stay-at-home mum of Seb and Lilly, semi-passionate about Farrow & Ball and, if she's to be believed, not the victim of postnatal depression.
Her sister, the radical feminist Esther (Claira Watson Parr) is a former mate of Adam's from their university days, who brought shame on her family for an anti-abuse stunt where she wore a few hunks of raw meat and little else to illustrate the distinction between her flesh and a cow's. She's all bleak statistics.
They're simplistic constructs, perhaps. But what an accurate portrait of the commuter belt they paint.
I sat in The Hope thinking how often I'd met these people at suburban barbecues.
If there had been another male character, Adam could have discussed how he'd driven there ("I always take the A143 then nip up through Hertingfordbury; saves about 14
They're all brittle bores, smashed together for the first time in 12 years following the death of the sisters' father.
And the claustrophobia of the solicitor's waiting room is the perfect crucible to boil away the masks and reveal the grisly complex flesh beneath.
Director Michael Beigel has his players stick rigidly to the last vestiges of their constructs as escalating revelations render them away, sweetly flavoured by Angela's wry pen.
It's horrible, but fascinating to watch the past tear all three of them apart. Even if
they all, arguably, deserve it.
It doesn't matter that the outcome of the rape debate plot is rather obvious. It's a prism through which the characters' frailties are refracted. Spiky and illuminating.
The best thing about this play and the three actors, who all managed to reflect its subtlety in their performances, is the raft of ethical questions it leaves; a ring of scum after a luxurious bath.
I wanted their characters to join us in the bar, to find out what happened.
Instead we're left to wonder about the nature of guilt, feminism, justice and
the revelation of truth as a mechanism for good.
The answer? Like my friendship with Angela; it's ambiguous. Go watch it and make your own minds up.
The Legacy is at The Hope Theatre until June 13. For times, tickets and prices go to thehopetheatre.com.