Barons Court Theatre at the Curtain's Up pub, down an unassuming side street, is a bit of an unexpected find. Once inside, a Berlin-esque decidence greets you and an intriguing cavern of a theatre lies beneath. Neil La Bute’s year 2000 off-Broadway play Bash, which ties together three different short plays, presents similar unexpected delights and twists in the tale.
La Bute’s darkly humourous studies of the human psyche and what lies beneath the most innocent of exteriors are played by two young actors, James Le Feuvre and Faye Winter. Both perform with verve, immediacy and a steeliness that has us hooked. Winter resembls a young Jodie Foster and Le Feuvre has cheek bones to die for. Their great first night performance can only see them living up to those promising credentials further.
The first play, Iphigenia in a Dream, sees Le Feuvre as an apparently average, middle of the road, middle class American, who loves his boring office job and is blandly devoted to family life. But all is not what it seems. In the second piece, a preppy college boy hides a dangerous religious mania and murder is found in unexpected places and people in the third. Evil as an underlining trait in us all or as something ordinary people disguise frighteningly well, is explored in all three scenarios.
Our only misgiving is the red flame backdrop which is perhaps overkill when a more downbeat backdrop would have let the play spin the magic for itself. However, there is effective and imaginative use of props such as chairs the couple dance with in place of partners and an invisible guest’s wine glass that mysteriously drains itself.
Bash is the scary glint in the eye of the man reading the paper opposite you in the tube; in other words scariness in the most ordinary of situations. There’s also delight in the black comedy and the chill of realisation as the twists in each story emerges.
Bash is on until 17 June. Tickets can be booked by calling Barons Court Theatre on 0208 932 4747 More information here