4 stars To suggest the art world is full of fakes is an understatement. That they’re usually in the business of buying and selling rather than artists themselves is also generally true. Maverick writer and director David Leddy and his Fire Exit company tackles the art of faking it in a fantastical flight of fancy that dissects the whole notion of authenticity and finding truth through onstage artifice by leaving everything exposed.
Actors Wendy Seager and Neil McCormack greet the audience as they enter a room in Govan’s former town hall that’s part studio, part gallery chock-full of apparent old masters draped in dust-sheets. The Jackson Pollock style splurges that decorate the floor looks the part even more. What we’re about to watch, Seager and McCormack explain, comes from a real life meeting in a Glasgow bar between Leddy and a couple slightly worse for wear.
The shaggy dog story that follows involves Liz and Jim, a couple of extreme con artists who move from off-loading ‘vintage’ handbags on the internet to flogging mass produced ‘Pollocks’ to international dealers. With a motley crew of madams, mentors and others on the make in tow, things may backfire spectacularly, but what a story.
Seager and McCormack switch identities and accent in an instant in what, behind its caper movie trappings and meta-narrative conceit featuring stage manager Sooz Scott Glen, is a perceptive and penetrating expose of how capitalist market forces are getting away with murder. As Liz and Jim’s world falls apart, its glossy veneer is peeled away to reveal the human collateral damage at the bottom of the food chain. We are all prostitutes, indeed.
The Herald, January 11th 2013