OzAsia review: £¥€$

Ontroerend Goed invites you to explore the complex and seductive world of money in the Australian premiere of their new show £¥€$.

Oct 21, 2019, updated Oct 21, 2019
You're invited to the gaming table with Ontroerend Goed's £¥€$. Photo: Thomas Dhanens

You're invited to the gaming table with Ontroerend Goed's £¥€$. Photo: Thomas Dhanens

In this immersive performance, participants take on the role of the wealthy elite and must use their personal fortunes to establish, maintain and grow the economy of their fictional nations.

Over the course of two hours, audience members engage in an economic game of poker; exploring investment opportunities, hedge funds and stocks and choosing how much of our “personal” fortunes to risk. Successful investments increase personal wealth and improve your nation’s ranking in the global market while investment failures can lead to personal or national disaster.

Despite this complex premise, you don’t need to be financially minded to enjoy £¥€$ (but a little inside knowledge would definitely help). Participants are guided through each round of market trading by black-clad performers who serve as the nation’s governments and banks. While it is comforting to know they are there if you need them, their presence can be deeply unnerving.

The show’s simple, yet effective set design is reminiscent of the illegal gambling dens of old (the perfect setting for a social experiment about money); its expert use of darkness creates a palpable sense of isolation and mystery. Music echoes around the room and, as the stakes rise and the potential for personal gain increases, so does the music’s tempo, creating an overwhelming sense of urgency and chaos.

Like its title, this performance piece is completely subjective and absolutely anything can happen. Will you and your table mates use your wealth wisely for the betterment of your nation’s economy? Or will the seemingly limitless opportunities for increased personal wealth seduce you into making unwise decisions?

Every move you make has a direct impact on your nation’s economy and as I witnessed (at the 4pm opening day performance) the potential for complete economic crash is very real.

£¥€$ is an intense experience which proves that money (even fictional money) can change people and I was genuinely surprised by how much my own and others’ behaviours changed over the course of the show.

£¥€$ is being presented at the Space Theatre until October 21 as part of the 2019 OzAsia Festival.

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