Bash (4 stars)

This article is from 2011.


Utterly convincing and compelling

With no set, no more than a few props, and only the faint murmur of a soundtrack, this show relies solely on its script and actors' abilities: it's lucky that they're both brilliant. Neil LaBute's three monologues, first shown in 1999, unravel moments of unexpected evil within the mundane lives of four American characters. The first we encounter is a man in a bar, talking directly to us as we play the part of anyone who will listen. We are charmed by him, and even begin to like him, as he tells us about the death of his baby daughter in a tragic accident. But halfway through the monologue, the time frame shifts and we suddenly realise we’re looking at the perpetrator of the crime.

This, and the monologues to follow, are confessional, with the characters clearly struggling to justify their shocking actions. Unlike in original performances where a different actor is used for each part, here just one man and woman slip in and out of their roles, utterly convincing and compelling to watch. In a small conference room deep inside a hotel, every member of the audience might be subjected to intense eye contact, but it's not awkward or unnecessary, just enough to give the impression of actually witnessing these dark statements.

theSpaces on the Mile, 0845 508 8316, until 20 Aug, 9pm, £8 (£6).


  • 4 stars

‘Party, bash, whatever. In the city that’s what we came down for. The thing, this get-together’s why we did it in the first place … ’ A dark triad of chilling tales bringing Greek tragedy to life in the modern world. LaBute’s sharp wit is nimbly performed by two actors in a dynamic portrayal of three fateful incidents.

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