Show Me the Money

Paula Varjack uncovers the financial difficulties of making art

★★★
theatre review | Read in About 2 minutes
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Show me the Money
Published 11 Aug 2017

Like most artists, Paula Varjack has a fraught relationship with money. As austerity worsens, she wonders how artists manage the logistics of survival and making their art. Part documentary and part performance, Show Me the Money is a frank look at artists' attitudes towards all things financial.

Starting with her biography, Varjack explains that after eight years of making theatre she still feels like she carries the label of "emerging". Wondering how other artists cope, she interviewed 43 artists across a range of disciplines, in different parts of the country, about their specific financial issues. Topics range from childcare, to day jobs, to the stigma of making art part-time. These form a major part of the show and though less theatrical, they are the most powerful.

Varjack includes some performance and video montages that while effectively serving to break up the filmed interviews, are less effective contributors to the piece. They entertain, but feel arbitrarily included and the transitions in and out of them are abrupt. Her conversational and laid back demeanour helps defuse any awkwardness, and her transparency about the cost of her show, both in money and time, is a helpful point of reference to those who aren't theatremakers. At the Fringe though, she is preaching to the choir.

Though she doesn't have any answers to the issues posed, she addresses some sensitive issues that aren't otherwise talked about. The overall message is one of support and hope, even if the individual elements of the piece don't quite come together.