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Edinburgh Fringe 2022

About Money

65% Theatre

Genre: New Writing, Political, Theatre

Venue: Summerhall - TechCube 0


Low Down

Shaun loves Sophie, his sister, but they have a massive issue. Their parents are unable to care for them. Shaun is 18, Sophie is 8. To try and keep Sophie from disappearing into the care system, Shaun takes her in, gets his friend Eddie to help to look after her and tries to hide her from the authorities whilst he is working at Tasties, a fast food restaurant. Working nights, with Eddie helping out whilst working in “pharmaceuticals”, they both struggle to find the ends, never mind get them to meet. With an unsympathetic manager and a new start, Hannah, future girlfriend and who is up for helping out, one night Eddie goes out, Sophie goes to get Shaun at work, Eddie, Shaun and Hannah return and Sophie has gone. There are implications for all, thereafter.


This is a true representation of how care does not work in Scotland, right here and right now.

There shall be some, especially given the nature of some of the publicity recently about shows and subject matter who may tut, tut at the young actress getting to swear onstage and being present when the full range of swearing happens from her actor colleagues. But it depicts the real love shown by one sibling to another in the face of the possibility of there being a rending asunder of their relationship. It’s authentic because the source material – from young kinship carers – will have pulled no punches, especially as the implications of getting things wrong is as horrendous to contemplate as the language used to describe them.

This was subtly directed with the full use of the stage showing us all the actors’ repertoires. The bareness of the stage underlines the bare souls being given to us as an audience and the interplay between characters was well positioned and gave the witness testimonies from the source material full voice for our delicate ears.

If the script is good, and the director knows what they are doing, you need it delivered. There may be some who would dwell on Sophie. She gives a touchingly vulnerable portrayal of a young girl terrified by the world around her, especially in the final scene where she has landed in a care home. It’s the look of many a resi wean when they arrive. Confused, vulnerable and torn. Sophie thinks she caused this rift and needs Shaun who has not seen her for a while to make things right for her. Take that thought for a moment, this is a kid who has not seen her brother “for a while”, previously a constant in her life, and she is looking for emotional reassurance from the brother she “has not seen for a while” to make things better. Our young actress managed that without falter.

But that is one performance.

Our manager and Hannah are excellent, showing the right blend of exploitative cynicism and confused support. Central though are Eddie and Shaun. They emerge as more than a double act. They manage to provide us with the heart of the story. “Uncle” Eddie can transform Sophie’s existence into an exciting panorama of childhood. He can take a chair and make Sophie’s constellation. It is a heart rending performance because Eddie is no saint; nobody ever is.

Shaun is 18. A decade older than Sophie and in that decade, he has had to mature to a point where he can no longer be considered an immature teenager. It is a decade in which we all grow up, but this requires someone with the maturity beyond the years he has experienced. It needs a performance that snaps when pressure is applied apart from when some manipulative manager is making them play their game and not be able to provide for his family. It is a performance that needs excitement when there is a girlfriend and anger when there is a lost child. It must be able to swing between both and maintain that authenticity. Shaun is written as more than a cipher and played to absolute perfection.

This had tremendous power.

It spoke a truth and I know because I know many Shauns and have met countless Sophies. The pity is that despite drama like this, I am likely to meet many more of both. The presentation of the piece was incredibly touching, heart-breaking and effective. I left with a sense that what I had witnessed was one story of many parents, numerous siblings and of the accompanying failure thus far, of us, as a society to find the way to make a paper promise, real.


Show Website

65% Theatre