This show by The Paper Birds-namely Jemma McDonnell, Kylie Walsh and Shane Durrant- focuses on an issue which affects most of us in our pursuit of keeping up with modern life as well as contemporaries, namely borrowing money via various means and the debt that this automatically incurs. Canvassed from real life members of the public, the facts and stories related throughout this show may be random but they relate to a vast majority of the public as each tale is laced with a sense of familiarity and whilst waking up in the middle of the night in a sweaty panic is far removed from simply putting it out of your mind and ignoring the problem at the same point both have a remarkably similar outcome in that they don’t actually deal with the problem in any active way.
Well presented the show is basic but effective-it would be churlish if it was a big budget production- and one feels that a lack of funds available to the participants has provided an active muse. Each of the trio on stage inhabits their various roles with consummate ease and the whirring sounds and motions which represent the being caught up in more debt, financial misunderstanding and encroaching cash chaos is extremely effective and summarises the feelings many of us have inside our heads when presented with our own financial situation; confusion blurred with even more confusion all operating at a seemingly breakneck speed.
The production offers up the neat summary that constant spending will only lead most of us into more debt but, at the same time, only constant spending can rescue the economy so it is a vicious circle our society and culture can’t get out of. More importantly it is a circle those in overall charge of our finances cannot afford to let us out of. Not exactly an appetising thought is it?
‘Broke’ looks at contemporary issues in an intelligent and entertaining way with minimal fuss. It certainly provides food for thought; even if the food for thought comes not from that least trusted of financial institutions, the bank, but instead from one of those current saviours of society, a food-bank.