GILT – 7:84 Theatre Company

2003

After Mick has exchanged bodily fluids with teenager Jo, he gives her his liquid assets, a bag with £50,000 in it.

Mick’s son, James, a charity fundraiser, tells his estranged father that he will meet him four times a year, at £3,000 a throw.

Anita, rich from a compensation award as a result of a botched operation, wants to give James’s charity a large donation, but only if she can dictate exactly how the money is spent.

Carla, stricken with multiple sclerosis and middle age, wants to marry refugee Al; she will give him citizenship and in return he will look after her.

Big Issue seller Chris is affronted when Anita gives him a fiver for a magazine she doesn’t want, but relents when it is agreed that the extra is for good service.

Money makes the world go round in this thoughtful and quizzical piece from Scotland’s 7:84, making a rare and welcome London appearance. Like a contemporary Scottish La Ronde with cash replacing sex, it is the transactions and accruals of the heart and soul that are under scrutiny, as much as the profits and losses that come with wealth. The title, of course, is triple-edged, a play on the fact that all that glisters often turns out to be only thinly plated gold, the gilt-edged security that money can offer, and the guilt it so often brings. Can you buy yourself happiness, freedom and power with a chequebook, or will you eventually be called to account in other ways?

‘The great thing about Gilt is that it never gives the knee-jerk answers that you might expect as it holds the mirror up to our tarnished souls. The interesting thing is that it is the work of not one but three writers: Stephen Greenhorn, Rona Munro and Isabel Wright. The seams never show in Zinnie Harris’s terrific production, which offers a very profitable 90 minutes in the theatre.’