Broke Britannia! (archive) 

Broke Britannia! was conceived on a hot August day in 2009 at a wine bar on Edinburgh's Royal Mile. 
It deals with Britain's own Credit Crunch 2007-2009 during which billions of taxpayers' money was spent bailing out foolhardy bankers and the even more foolhardy regulators and politicians who were meant to control them.
David Shirreff, a disillusioned financial hack working for The Economist, wrote the words and lyrics. Russell Sarre, an underemployed (at the time) classical composer, doctor of music and Goon Show fan, wrote the music.
Broke Britannia! was first performed at the Old Sorting Office in Barnes, South-west London in August 2010, followed by a week of performances at the Edinburgh Fringe.

People & Original Cast

(More details to follow)

David Shirreff, author

David reports on business and finance for The Economist. Apart from the fun of writing and directing a short play at Oxford, and some college acting under the direction of Nigel “Wimbledon Poisoner” Williams - too long ago to remember - this is his first stage venture. But he has always seen himself as a playwright manqué. The credit crunch which is the subject of Broke Britannia! is horribly familiar to him. In the course of his day job he spoke to most of the protagonists – Mervyn King, Fred the Shred, Alistair Darling, to name but a few. They had no idea, and neither did he at the time, that they would end up as characters in a musical pantomime. For David it was the best possible antidote to gruesome reporting, sitting on a Greek island last October, putting the credit crunch into Gilbert & Sullivan verse, in between bouts of windsurfing and enjoying Sheila’s company. It was his luck too that in seeking a composer he suddenly remembered his Aussie friend Russell, a doctor of music who is addicted to radio comedy. David lives in Barnes and has two sons, one of whom, George, is in the show. 

Clare Mitchell, stage manager

Clare turned to the "dark side" at the tender age of 13 working on various school productions. She continued this at university at her students’ union. When she returned to London she freelanced as a stage manager and has done shows including The Taming of the Shrew, The Dumb Waiter, The Importance of Being Earnest, Handbag the Musical and most recently Joe Orton's Loot, all at the OSO in Barnes. She has also worked at the Etcetera Theatre Camden, Theatre 503 Battersea and Isleworth Town Hall. Clare is excited to be returning to Edinburgh with Broke Britannia! after taking a show there in 2006. In her spare time Clare is also an events organiser and has worked for various organisations across London.


Russell Sarre, composer

Australian-born composer Russell Sarre (1963) began his musical education by learning the organ at the age of eight in Papua New Guinea. Later, he took up the guitar and composition. He has composed music for theatre, musical theatre, film, dance, and the concert stage and his music has been performed in many countries. He has a doctorate in music from Rice University, Houston, Texas; has won a number of scholarships and awards; has taught music at several universities; has produced and presented classical music radio shows in Austin, Texas. Thanks to his life in music, Russell is all too familiar with the Credit Crunch, is singularly qualified to sing about it, and will happily do so for his supper.

Ross "Rusty" Livingstone, director

Sadly, Ross died in June 2015. He directed the premieres of all three Crunch Musicals and is sorely missed.
































Masters of Finance

 Review by Joe DiVanna, managing director of Maris Strategies:

"The opening night of Broke Britannia was a remarkable performance. Leaving no financial stone unturned, author David Shirreff, armed with music by Russell Sarre, takes a satirical look at the financial crisis - adeptly roasting the bankers and regulators who are the public face in Britain’s economic woes.  One of the many charms of Broke Britannia was the canter at which director Ross Livingstone served up vignettes to melt time in a steady stream of laughter.

"In an intimate setting, actors lampoon the men and women at the heart of Britain’s financial might.

"Charlie Dupre captured the enchantment and disappointment of the emotional rollercoaster experienced by young professionals trapped in the rapidly changing financial marketplace

"Dylan Esbach as Mr. Wolf brought to life the sinister nature of financial advisors focused on commissions while flippantly determining their client’s financial futures

"Libby Gore was enchanting in her portrayal of Davina and Red Riding Hood.

"Marcus Massey captured the ineptness of the market's ability to circumvent future problems.

"Matt McMaster’s portrayal of Mervin King was priceless, leaving the audience hoping to see Mr. King break into song in his next television interview.

"Anna Neill …portraying to the essence the complexity …of how bankers traded common sense for algorithmic trading.

"George Shirreff’s depiction of Alistair Darling was thoroughly enjoyable and funny.

"Oliver Walters’s portrayal of Fred Goodwin and Adair Turner was brilliant.

Little Red Riding Hood

Enzo and Divina

The Genie and Mr Wolf 

Enzo - Last in first out 

 Lord Adair

The Rating Agencies 

The Tripartite Authorities 

 Masters of Finance all steamed up on the Royal Mile

 Enzo's Ferrari hits the High Street