About Money

This is a visceral and vitally important piece in which playwright Eliza Gearty and director Alex Kampfner have wrought an exquisite little nugget of social political theatre: sublime in delivery and haunting in subject material.

A visceral and vitally important piece of theatre

Fast Food worker Shaun is a typical eighteen year old. He likes music, mates and getting stoned. Usually all at the same time. He is a devoted older brother, has a colourful best mate and a sparky potential new girlfriend.

But Shaun is no carefree teenager. As in all too many hidden stories across the country, he is also the sole carer to his eight year old sister, desperate to keep it from the authorities lest they separate them, and scraping whatever he can together to keep her safe, warm and fed.

Little sister Sophie knows more of the sadnesses and quirks of the world than she should. She knows to keep her mouth shut at school and not to betray the fruity language or drug dealing which characterise the chaotic life of her family home.

It is a horribly reminiscent story. I remember something similar from Grange Hill decades ago. And yet, it bears retelling because it is still happening. Decades and decades on from the great tomes of suggested social reform, it is still happening. And at a time when the cost of living is never far from anyone’s thoughts, not only is there little sign that inequity of circumstance will ever abate, but every suggestion that it will only continue to get worse.

Shaun is proud and dignified: prepared to work for the paltry pay which never quite covers expenses. A child himself, he too knows more of the sadnesses and quirks of the world than he should. He begs for more work: but is denied with a smile and an airy wave of the hand. He begs for shifts which will enable him to provide childcare: but is denied with a wolfish grin and a promise of jam tomorrow.

It is a familiar treadmill to too many people: surviving rather than thriving. And the ensemble cast are superb in suggesting the defeated anger, the hope against the odds, the way in which the tiniest glimmers of lightness shine in the gloom of just existing.

But whilst this is a rollicking good story in its own right, and has all the hallmarks of a successful plotline, About Money is so much more than that. It shines a light on a shabby, dog-eared piece of our country's financial jigsaw and as such, deserves to be seen by the largest of audiences.

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Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

'Weans. They get expensive, you know?' Fast-food worker Shaun is your average 18-year-old boy. He likes music, video games and getting stoned. He's also the sole carer to his eight-year-old sister, Sophie. Without enough money for childcare and under pressure from an unsympathetic boss, he's forced to make decisions that could have devastating consequences. Drawn from interviews with young kinship carers and inspired by the McDonald's strikes of 2018, this Glasgow drama is about family, love and friendship in a world where the lack of money threatens all three.

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