Money @ Shunt, 42-44 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3UD

Moneeee-eeyyyy, it’s a gas
Grab that cash with both hands
And make a stash…
 
…Someone once said.  Maybe that too was based on Emile Zola’s book “L’Argent” which inspired “Money“, now on at the Shunt Yard in Bermondsey.  I kicked myself for missing the Shunt Vaults before it closed in London Bridge – I heard great things about nights under the arches with art installations and live music.  I was signed to their mailing list for four frickin’ years and never managed to go. There’s a lesson there somewhere. Now, Shunt is not a Vault but a Yard – a decent place to grab a drink before Money starts.
I should’ve known this play was based on French literature.  I studied French literature and philosophy at university, and most of the time hadn’t a clue what was going on, what with rhinoceroses (sp?) and existentialism and the plague (my understanding also hindered by a lack of grounding in the French language). 
Anyway, I don’t want to give away many details about this play – many of the things I found exciting and intriguing were complete surprises so I don’t want to ruin it for you. But here’s what I can say:
  • The set design was quite breathtaking. I wondered if the machine was purpose-built or a leftover from the industrial revolution. One minute we were looking at it and then we were in the middle of it, then on top of it looking down, then back in the middle.
  • Awesome use of depth and imagination – how they could make a floor into a pool into a ceiling is beyond me (you’ll have to go see it for yourself and you’ll know what I’m talking about).
  • There were some great moments of brilliance and aaaaah I get it. The chiffres on the floor, the corporate presentation at the top, the parliamentary debate in the middle. Very clever writing and a wonderful way of including the audience in the performance (please note that human nature requires there to be at least one annoying over-enthusiastic punter in every audience…).
  • At one point I was throwing things at someone I didn’t know across the room and laughing my head off while the man next to me giggled. Brilliant.
  • There were entire scenes where I hadn’t got a clue what was going on, and one scene where people were shouting and I don’t think I understood a word. This took me back to French literature lessons and a feeling of “quoi??!” – but I think I’d have liked to be hand-held a little more through the meaning and perhaps I’d have been left with a bit more to dwell on than mainly the visual effects.  
  • Anyone who came along last Wednesday 14 July for the 7.30pm performance may have seen a couple at the end who I genuinely don’t think had a clue what was going on and may have thought they were at a nightclub.
  • I think it was something to do with greed and narcissism and consumerism and stuff. But thats about all I know (I may have the read the book, damn).
  • I left holding a balloon which I ended up tying to our empty bottle of red wine in Borough Market.

So, it was interesting and exciting, and thought-provoking in parts, but sadly I was a little too lost in others. If you’re interested in a different theatrical experience or have any interest in architecture or design or French literature or you have an in-depth understanding of philosophy that the likes of me barely grasp, then I’d recommend you go along. Money is on until 25 September and tickets are £20 (I got discounted tickets for £10 on a special deal – sign up to Shunt in case they do it again).
All photos of Money used with kind permission from Money by Shunt.  
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2 responses to “Money @ Shunt, 42-44 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3UD

  1. Cool article! I thought that the Shunt Lounge had re-opened in the meantime, could have sworn I had read that somewhere!

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