Fear Maintains a Sense of Menace at the Bush Theatre

Nick Hennegan reviews a drama about two contemporary London worlds

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Fear is described as a "contemporary tale of aspiration and greed"

It's certainly contemporary and the pedigree of the writer and director, Dominic Savage, is impeccable. Unfortunately, as a night at a theatre with the reputation of The Bush, it's an imperfect piece that promises much but delivers little.

Fear looks at two contemporary London worlds. There's the comfortable prosperity of corporate banker Gerald (Rupert Evans) and his newly pregnant wife Amanda (Louise Delamere) who are all expensive holidays and globe-trotting luxury as they plan a party to announce the sex of their forthcoming baby.

And then there's the impoverished street robber existence of Kieran (Aymen Hamdouchi) and his chum and assistant-in-crime Jason (Jason Maza) which is all rage, anger and violence. These two worlds inevitably collide and the result is fairly predictable.

In some ways this 80 minute one-acter feels like a bit like scenes from a tv drama. This is Dominic Savage's theatre debut and it's a big ask to both write and direct. Kieran's violence is too obvious and 'shouty'. Diction, comprehension and sympathy for the characters suffer. An outside directors eye may have pointed out some obvious lack of focus in both plot and character.

As it is, Savage leaves little to the imagination. He spells it all out: Kieran informs Jason that everything in life is a "transaction", and Gerald, after the inevitable violent encounter with Kieran, announces "We're the same, you and I, we're the scum of the earth".

However, there are some nuggets - Kieran's fearful relationship with his too-foul mouthed mother (Lorna Brown) was interesting and gave him an extra dimension. And Gerald's wife seems uncomfortable and talks about her husbands £12 million deal as being "too much money". And it is a fact that especially in London we have unbridled, obscene wealth streets away from grinding poverty.

The production looks great too, with a smart set imaginatively lit and the constant white noise throughout maintaining a complete sense of menace.

Although there's little new or subtle here, Fear shows Savages potential as a dramatist - and you will almost certainly think twice about taking a short cut home down a dark alley!

Fear continues at the Bush through till July 14. To book tickets, call the box office on 020 8743 5050 or book online.

July 3, 2012