£¥€$ (LIES)

Joeri Smet, Angelo Tijssens, Karolien De Bleser, Alexander Devriendt

Ontroerend Goed

Upper Church @ Summerhall hosted by RBC

From 04 August 2017 to 27 August 2017

Rating: *****

Review by Philip Fisher

Belgian Fringe regular Ontroerend Goed has built a fierce reputation for individualistic work that challenges viewers, sometimes more than they might find comfortable.

LIES plays like a game show but has a serious message that is never too far from the surface.

42 punters (the term is doubly accurate on this occasion) sit at tables of seven with their own highly intelligent, attractive moderator or, if you prefer, croupier.

Quickly, they are gulled into a casino mentality, betting chips on the roll of a die. Soon, there are winners and losers, some getting very excited. As in all of the best gaming houses, odds and bets are quickly increased, making some multi-millionaires in matters of minutes.

Gently, financial instruments are offered at bargain prices until financial novices are merrily investing in unintelligible bonds and shorting each other rather too gleefully.

For those with an interest in such matters, this mirrors the activities of banks and even countries when junk bonds and sub-prime mortgages made gamblers rich, before wrecking the finances of the world, a situation that might just be about to recur, if we are not careful.

The point the company drives home is that the value of investments can as easily go down as up and we must never forget the basics of fiscal prudence before the credit card or, on a different scale nation, gets maxed out and the wolf comes knocking at the door.

Under the ever-reliable direction of Alexander Devriendt, this is as polished a performance as you will see in Edinburgh and should be on everyone’s must-see list, especially those of politicians and bankers.