Observations: A big 'Money' move for Shunt
Friday 25 September 2009
It has one of the finest – and most atmospheric – venues in London, burrowed at the end of a deep, dark tunnel in the eerie vaults under London Bridge station. Now the experimental-theatre collective Shunt is moving up in the world with its first new show since 2006's Rear Window-inspired Amato Saltone, and an exciting new space. It has acquired a tobacco warehouse (once owned by Fidel Castro, apparently) on nearby Bermondsey High Street, inside which David Rosenberg and his team have constructed a "massive three-storey Victorian machine structure" for their new work, Money.
Based on Emile Zola's 1891 novel L'Argent, itself inspired by the collapse of the French bank Union Generale, Zola's work is a fiery fin de siècle indictment of the perilous effects of speculation, the culpability of company directors and flabby financial regulation. Sound familiar? "We noticed parallels with what was happening when we started on the piece over a year ago but at the time it was only a mild economic concern", says Rosenberg. "Then Lehman Brothers collapsed and the repetition became truly striking."
Zola's novel is, warns Rosenberg, simply the jumping-off point for Shunt, who have previously walked audiences through the unsettling messy aftermath of a murder and an orgy (Amato Saltone) and forced them to watch an autopsy and drink beer served from a coffin (Tropicana). Prepare to be assaulted – in the nicest possible way.
Money, 30 September to 31 December (www.shuntmoney.co.uk)
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