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Theatre: A Very Crypto Christmas at Summerhall

Adrenalism is the delightfully warped brainchild of physical theatre makers Lewis Sherlock and Andew Simpson. Their gleefully anarchic performance, A Very Crypto Christmas, looks at the festive season through the prism of online corporate greed. I caught up with Sherlock to find out more about their blend of clowning and disarmingly subversive satire. 

Greed, corruption, scandal and the destruction of dreams: this sounds like a typical Christmas. Was the idea of capitalism one that resonated with previous Christmases for you?

For us, it’s about the hype of it. Every year, in the name of ‘Christmas Spirit’ we are sold the belief that we have to get it perfect, often spending money we don’t have on gifts and the event itself with all the trimmings. To point this out, especially on the approach to Christmas, makes us humbugs or in Crypto terms ‘Unbelievers.’  Bringing these two worlds together, initially in a fun bit of wordplay, made us realise the similarities of behavior around Crypto and Christmas – although one is widely more accepted, ingrained even, in capitalism. Not that we are above it, I’m currently shopping for Christmas decorations. 

What can audiences expect from the show?

A Very Crypto Christmas is an anarchic blend of physical theatre, clowning and satire taking aim at the nightmarish dystopia of crypto, consumerism, artwashing and toxic masculinity. Which  is then followed by Christmas themed-karaoke!

The Show follows Adrenalism’s signature characters: Warren and Stew. The two are hopeless corporate hacks, barely able to conceal from the audience their incompetence, greed and contempt, all whilst celebrating the wonders of Christmas! Expect chocolate coins, a very real blockchain, and the line between Panto and a TED Talk to be trampled on in Tom & Jerry meets Stath Lets Flats meets Succession.

Warren and Stew will charm, hassle, cajole and ultimately guide you on a hilarious interactive journey through Crypto Past, Crypto Present and Crypto Yet To Come.

Satire is having something of a resurgence of late. Do you see yourselves in that tradition?

When we created Warren and Stew as characters for our outdoor show Hey Idiots, Text Me Your Climate Change Solutions! our aim was to make a piece that would be comical, but also annoy people into action. This show came about as a response to ‘what would make us, as people, rally around a cause.’ At one point Stew dresses up as the world in a bid to try out audience contributions of blue-sky-thinking greenwashing ideas. The point was to go beyond parody; as I’m not sure caricaturing is effective in a post Trump/ Johnson world. The ideas that the audience texted in at the time, such as ‘frack the moon’ seem simultaneously outrageous, but not unreasonable in the political landscape of now.  

With A Very Crypto Christmas, Warren and Stew have hung up their greenwashing galoshes in order to move some of their ill-invested crypto stock whilst claiming on the tax break afforded to their company for presenting this as an edu-tainment show. Even as stalwarts of Crypto are falling, they hope to reinvigorate the market, as long as they don’t get distracted by who can give the most convincing, Christmas related, pitch. 

In terms of tradition, we have found a great deal of joy in placing this show within the surreal territory of panto. Oh no we haven’t, 

oh yes we have. 

Do you think,were he real, Scrooge would be climbing the corporate ladder with Elon Musk? Pyramid schemes, maybe?

If you were to ask Warren (played by Andrew Simpson) I’m sure he would make the case that Scrooge is a contemporary hero of our time with his lucrative business practices. His frugality and savviness are enviable until he takes the terrible advice of those freeloading, parasitical ghosts, such a shame really. 

I can see a market for Scroogecoin, and the man himself being Unbothered. Moisturised. Happy. In his Lane. Focused. Flourishing. and celebrated for it

What would Adrenalism like for Christmas this year?

Some more storage space for our props. Another thinly veiled scam masquerading as a tool for societal and political change so we can continue the Christmas tradition of a Warren and Stew show. Some nice baubles for the tree.

Adrenalism’s A Very Crypto Christmas: Summerhall, Edinburgh, 1st till 3rd December

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