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Broke review at Pleasance Dome

Following its usual mode, the Paper Birds builds its current show on extensive research and interviews, incorporating the verbatim responses into a theatrically imaginative presentation.

The subject is living with debt, both personal and national. Some people feel bad, some borrow and charge guiltlessly, some just try to get by. We see the embarrassment of not having enough cash at the supermarket till, the matter-of-factness of a pawnshop, the humiliation of a food bank. The voice of a student who racked up £20,000 in credit card debt until mummy bailed her out is heard alongside a single mother who dreads Christmas and dreams of a day when she can give into her child’s plea for a sweetie without first computing the cost.

Punctuating the individual stories are explanations of how we got here – Thatcher’s economic theories voiced by sock puppets, a bank interview as Deal or No Deal, the credit crunch as a children’s story might tell it.

It is clear that the three writer-performers of this piece – Jemma McDonnell, Kylie Walsh and Shane Durrant – have their hearts in the right place, but their voices are too soft, and the material they have calls out for more anger than this safe and gentle piece offers.

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Verdict
Giving voice to those living with debt, but without the danger or anger the material implies
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