Concluding my Mayfest triptych is Gary McNair’s solo show, Crunch, at the Brewery Theatre, Southville.
Aping an American-style motivational lecture, Glaswegian Gary appears on stage in a sharp suit, with his hair slicked back, banknotes poking out of his pockets, and to the accompaniment of Bruce Springsteen-esque power rock – reminding me of David Brent’s attempt at motivational speaking in The Office. Gary spends the first few minutes silently making eye contact with every person in the audience, before saying he has a good feeling about us, that he believes that we’ve got it in us to be winners, and that we all look lovely today.
Gary is good at what he does. And what he does is beautifully mock the motivational speaker genre, while talking absolute sense about the unhealthy relationships humans have with money… harking right back to the age of bartering.
Throughout the evening, Gary introduces us to his five-step programme to revitalise our relationship with money, and to show us that we are worth far more than any amount of money. And he does this via some really engaging audience interactions. With one woman, he tries to barter for her cardigan. With another, he offers to donate to charity a £10 note if only she’ll shred one of her own £10 notes. And the centerpiece of his show is an auction, where he asks the audience to spend three minutes bidding on an unspecified amount of money in a sealed envelope… which ultimately proves his point that winning a sum of cash generates a huge rush. And also underscores our distasteful belief in money, and our greed for money.
Gary leaves us with a closing thought, which is that next time we’re thinking of frittering £10, £20 or more away on an impulse buy… why not stop and consider donating that money to charity instead, where it will never be frittered away.
Crunch is a really interesting idea for a show, and Gary is great at delivering it. He’s funny, he knows what he’s talking about it, he has great rapport with the audience, and he leaves his audience thinking more about his ideas. A job well done.