Review: Money (represent/Southwark Playhouse)

If you were a community-based charity dedicated to helping others, and you needed money, would you accept a huge donation from a large organisation you believe may be dealing in dirty money?

That is the question the Nyoni Community Youth Project faces in Money, and you, the audience member, is involved as one of the voting trustees.

Questions of ethics, environmental vandalism, capitalism and profit, the personal and the political, and whether any big corporation can ever be truly clean, never mind the individual, are discussed during this sharp and thoughtful eighty-minute show.

Cast of Money (Glenn, Kaia, Avery, Angela, Flo)

We join the AGM of the charity, chaired by the City businessman and Chair of the Board of Trustees, Glenn Rye. With Angela, the CEO and founder; Flo the staff member who is closest to the people who are helped, Kaia the ethical fundraiser, and Avery the IT whizz, the meeting is quorate even with two absentees. There is tension as soon as the donation is announced, and the decision may not be as clear-cut as it initially looks.

As an audience member, you will become involved through eavesdropping on breakout conversations (I liked the freedom to move between them to get a more rounded perspective), and voting at the end.

The question of money as a concept for good or bad is the main focus of Isla von Tricht’s play: it gets the feel of corporate meetings completely right down to the arguments and preconceptions everyone brings to the table and gives every character a fair chance to develop.

Saral Madziya’s Angela is perhaps the most rounded, and too close to her charity to see beyond her own (and her father’s) legacy. She’s prickly, defensive, and confrontational, but shows very different sides in her breakout discussions with Flo and Kaia.

Mel Giedroyc and cast of Money

Aaron Douglas’s Glenn feels a bit of a caricature of a City executive, but has a secret we all become privy to later on; however, I felt something sinister about him was not fully explored.

Elsewhere in the cast, Loussin-Torah Pilikian is very convincing as Flo, the only non-voting member of the group; Nemide May Basri gives an emotional heft to climate-conscious Kaia; and Adam Rachid Lazaar is effective as Avery, the initial joker who has an enquiring mind. Mel Giedroyc has a pre-recorded bit as the CEO of the Anders group who are offering the donation.

Guy Woolf’s production for represent balances the meeting Zoom with screen sharing and heartfelt personal chat, and juggles the various conundrums around coercion, corruption, and competition with a firm hand.

Depending on the outcome of the final vote, the production has two endings: the one we saw was very effective and well-produced, and made no secret of where the writer and company stand on the ethics discussed.

Money streams live via Zoom until 15 May 2021, and tickets can be booked via Southwark Playhouse here.

LouReviews received complimentary access to review Money.