Spent

Have you ever seen a man sweat through the back of a business suit? If that's an experience in which your life is lacking, it's one of many reasons why you might be interested in seeing Spent – a Canadian double-act lampooning the excesses of the financial crisis with economic precision. The show is structured more by skits than narrative, though there are two interweaving threads. The first is a frame in which the two actors present a BBC World Service news programme, whirling like dervishes through a picaresque gallery of national and religious stereotypes. In the other, primarily physical, section the Bay Street Boys – bankers from the Canadian Wall Street – tumble from a tower block in a metaphysical journey reminiscent of Dante's Inferno.Although competent, the physical comedy was the show's least successful aspect – it is harder to follow and not always clear whether or not we are still watching the same story. The story, that of the crash itself, occupies the curious cultural position of something universally familiar yet almost universally not understood. In one section, where a reptilian parody of Lehman Brothers' Richard Fuld (scarily accurate, as a quick Google reveals) gives evidence to a Congressional committee, Spent begins to feel like an economics lecture where somebody forgot to photocopy enough handouts; but for the most part it's a spectacular roller-coaster ride, low on lecturing and high on energy. A host of chameleonic characters bring a world in collapse to life without a bar graph in sight. They only show one side of the story, undoubtedly, but this is an hour of theatre, not the Financial Times, and in times as unconscionably, hilariously screwed as our own, it's a modern myth that needs interpretation, a story that needs to be told.

Reviews by Richard O'Brien

The Blurb

An award winning comedy highly acclaimed for its fast paced, satirical humour that takes the piss out of the greedy bastards who caused the financial crisis. Two actors play 20 characters in this physical and comedic tour de force.