Bush Theatre, London
From 18 June 2012 to 14 July 2012
Review by Philip Fisher
Fear has all the ingredients of the kind of standard TV thriller that fills screens several times a week, although it aspires to be something rather deeper. Since its writer / director Dominic Savage has made his name creating TV dramas such as True Love starring David Tennant and Billie Piper, this is to be expected.
Despite all of his screen experience, this is Savage's stage debut. To feel more at home, he has cast two actors from True Love, Lorna Brown and the scarily excellent Aymen Hamdouchi, also apparently making his first foray on to the stage in the leading role of petty gangster Kieron.
The young tearaway heads one strand of the play, wandering around the London streets in using a evaluating rich types to see whether they are worth robbing. Kieron makes up a good double act with his likeable if somewhat dim-witted apprentice, Jason Maza giving a strong performance as Jason.
While Kieron is a thoroughly vicious and vindictive little punk when out and about, with Lorna Brown's Mother, he is a "pussy", terrified for no apparent reason of a nondescript woman that he could terrorise at will, if he chose to do so.
The alternating scenes see Rupert Evans and Louise Delamere playing Gerald and Amanda. This couple are reminiscent of Tom Wolfe's Masters of the Universe in Bonfire of the Vanities. They have unlimited supplies of everything that life can offer, primarily money and happiness plus a first child on the way. However, the pair give off an air of unease, even as Gerald completes a corporate deal that nets him a cool £12m.
From a very early stage in the 80 minutes, it is apparent that the haves and the have nots are on a collision course. This comes to pass in Maida Vale during a squalid scene after rich Gerald deserts his taxi for a long route march across London.
What had been a play that tried to mirror reality then moves into a different sphere during a scene featuring a modern Banquo's ghost moment, in which Kieron is forced to reconsider his ethos. This leads to an even less likely encounter with Amanda.
The story is told on a striking Takis set that shines, from the underlit floor, three Perspex backing panels and even the white furniture.
Dominic Savage's characters seem to like talking in differing types of clichés and live their lives following similar principles.
The play has its heart in the right place, as it attempts to explore the gulf between rich and poor and begins to pose some moral questions without getting too close to finding answers.
On this showing, Mr Savage's talents are probably better suited to the small screen rather than the stage, which may not be the worst thing in the world for him.