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Hannah Ringham's Free Show (Bring Money)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Another entry in the British Council Showcase currently populating Edinburgh with British arts bureaucrats and international arts promoters. I overheard several delegates observing that Hannah Ringham is a highly committed performer. Ringham is surely committed, but I think what she and writer Glen Neath are doing here may be quite subtle.

The show is free, but throughout the performance Hannah asks the audience for money. "Give me what you think I’m worth," she demands. "Last night’s audience were terrible. I gave them everything, they gave me nothing. They were cunts." Suitably chastened, my lot coughed up just over £100. In cash. For one hour’s work. I need to look into this.

I’m still not sure if this is satirising venality, or deconstructing the financial transaction that is our everyday life, or merely an artist looking for a new way to make money. I dare say the ambiguity is all part of the fun.

It might also be worth mentioning that less economically developed countries don’t have quite the same relationship with money that we do. When “everyone” is permanently on the breadline bar a few oligarchs, it can be a hard subject to see the funny side of. Joking about it can even cause offence. A point the British Council might wish to bear in mind; if cultural sensitivity is on their agenda.

- Craig Singer


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