'In this way I shall preserve many things that would otherwise be lost in oblivion. I shall find daily employment for myself, which will save me from indolence and help to keep off the spleen, and I shall lay up a store of entertainment for my after life.'

For James Boswell posts please follow the labels on the right.

This blog mainly contains reviews from the Edinburgh Festivals from 2008 to 2010 which I wrote for the Edinburgh Festivals Magazine. These reviews cover everything from comedy to contemporary dance; children's theatre to Handel.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Adam Smith - Making Poverty History Review

Adam Smith - Making Poverty History Review

‘Half the people standing at the Cross of Edinburgh were mad without knowing it’ was Adam Smith’s supposed quip to a friend on the Royal Mile. Certainly few comments are more apt for Edinburgh at the height of the Fringe, and it was with enthusiasm that I turned to a show about one of the Scotland’s greatest thinkers. My optimism soon dissipated however by what amounts to a poorly written, badly acted and tedious play.

Firstly we are presented with the inexcusable use of scripts on stage, something which could have perhaps been rectified by talented actors, but these were sorely lacking. The amateurish quality is added to by atrocious and preachy writing, with a ‘Noddy and Big Ears’ overview and abuse of Smith’s writings. Ideas such as his study of ‘sympathy’ were misrepresented, simplified and spun, eventually relating (somehow) to issues such as Fair Trade and homelessness. Smith may have, in his day, been something of a progressive, but what has this to do with the war in Iraq or Saddam Hussein? One also comes to realize that, however interesting to read, Smith’s complex writings translate poorly to the stage. The play is also overly long and several members of the audience were seen reverting to reading or slumber for quiet solace. Indeed critics of an ever expanding Fringe may have a point about falling standards. If shows like this can slip through the net, demand for entertainment must be rocketing for quality of supply to slip to such a pitiful level.

No comments:

Post a Comment