Dominic Frisby: Let’s Talk About Tax

frisbyGilded Balloon Teviot until 28th August
Dominic Frisby manages the seemingly impossible task of making the subject of tax both amusing and interesting in this one man show. With some extremely low-tech but effective props including home-made charts and a wooden spoon he takes the audience through various historical events including the birth of Christ and the signing of the Magna Carta in which taxation played a part. Sometimes taxes could have the opposite effect from that which was intended such as the Russian Beard Tax. Introduced by Peter the Great in attempt to westernise Russia, bearded men were required to pay a tax and hang a token on their beards to show that they had paid. Eventually the token, (and the beard that it hung from), became status symbols and thus the deterrent effect of the tax wore off.
The stage was divided into two halves with the microphone on the audience’s right being used when Frisby wished to make a joke and a soapbox and megaphone on the left being utilised when he wished to make a political or economic point. The small, intimate setting of the Balcony of the Gilded Balloon Teviot combined with the charts suspended at the rear gave an almost classroom or lecture hall feel to proceedings, but Frisby’s energetic and witty performance ensured that the audience did not think that they had returned to a boring economics lesson from their school or university days. His illustrations of how taxes are raised and spent were concise and readily understandable.
If you want to learn a little about taxation past or present for the first time or even build on your existing knowledge of the subject then this show is recommended.
Four Stars
Reviewed by Andrew Hunter

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