In this energetic play presented as a game-show the audience is divided into two teams and sat facing one another across the playing space. I’m on Team Queenie and soon Queenie appears to introduce herself and teach us the team chant (her name, to the tune of the Jaws soundtrack). Over on the other side Queenie’s cousin TooMuch is warming up his crowd too. We’re about to learn about money through games – because money in itself is a game.
Jenna Watt and Stuart Ryan are excellent in their roles as Queenie and TooMuch and these scenes feel stronger than the game-show elements.
Then, with a nod from the security guard, they unveil 10,000 pound coins. They’re real. These are what we’ll be playing with today – although we can’t take any of it home. Audience members from each team participate in a range of challenges. First is shovelling coins and dumping them in a suitcase while Queenie blows a bubble and keeps it afloat. When the bubble bursts, it’s time to stop shovelling money. We also learn about ‘going long’ and ‘going short’ in the financial market. In the ‘going long’ challenge, it’s a competition between the teams to see who can blow a balloon the largest in 30 seconds. To demonstrate ‘going short’ it’s to see who will be first to inflate a balloon with a bike pump until it bursts.
As well as the games, there’s a narrative woven in. Queenie and TooMuch explain how they came to live with each other in Edinburgh after Queenie’s parents lost all their money in 2008 and had to sell the house and even her pony. Post financial crisis, the two young characters gain a new perspective on money. Jenna Watt and Stuart Ryan are excellent in their roles as Queenie and TooMuch and these scenes feel stronger than the game-show elements. With audience members on opposite sides of a large space, it was sometimes hard to hear the actors during the game-show challenges, and given the nature of the challenges and audience involvement, there were times when the actors momentarily lost control of proceedings. That said, these scenes are where we were most engaged and the team rivalry gave us something to cheer for.
This show is a remix of Money the Game Show, originally produced by Bush Theatre and Unlimited Theatre. It’s fast paced, fun and engaging. It makes the subject matter fascinating and accessible for young audiences (and older audiences).