Financial Market Rebel

Sep 21 2016 | By More

Insider reveals all at Trav this week

The world premiere of a new play by David Crook, a one-time market hedge fund manager, is opening at the Traverse this week for a strictly limited three night run.

F* – a tale of bubbles and crashes covers what its creators describe as the “three great financial manias of the modern era – the internet frenzy of 2000, the sub-prime debacle of 2007-9, and the current bubble in the markets”. It carries on into the future, and the coming collapse.

Ruaraidh Murray in F* Photo: Svetlana Dimcovic

Ruaraidh Murray in F* Photo: Svetlana Dimcovic

Direction comes from Svetlana Dimcovic, founder and owner of Merchant Culture which specialising in connecting art and culture with digital innovation. She has brought together a cast which includes Jamie Marie Leary who played in Expensive Shit during the fringe and Ruaraidh Murray whose latest show The Club was at Gilded Balloon, also during the fringe.

They are joined by Euan Cuthbertson, Eilidh McCormick who recently made her West End debut in On The Waterfront at The Theatre Royal Haymarket, and Rachel Ogilvy for the run which is aimed at provoking interest from producers and bookers.

The show follows the story of Callum, a charity worker, who joins the ranks of an aggressive hedge fund where he is forced to make painful choices which change him as an individual.

This is something of an echo for David Crook’s life. He founded The Tail Wind Fund, a hedge fund, in 1995, and managed it until 2010. Since then he has worked with charities for homeless people.

staggering delusions

Crook says his inspiration for the show came from observing financial ‘bubbles’: “the staggering delusions that have grabbed hold of the minds of many millions of people three times since the year 2000. Namely the mania in 2000, the sub-prime frenzy of 2007, and the current bout of speculation.”

Noticing that these have gone beyond the markets themselves, so that other spheres of life were swept up too, he realised that the phenomenon has never been adequately portrayed on stage, or in fiction.

He says: “As I mused on the subject, it occurred to me that the all the writers who covered the events in these periods identified corruption as the driver of the process. But while Enron, The Big Short, Wall Street and so on are fantastic dramas which I couldn’t hope to emulate, it seemed to me they had missed the point when it came to financial market speculation.”

He argues that the truth, was much more unexpected and probably more interesting than plain old corruption. It would revolve around the three questions:

  • How can we all, not just financial types, periodically abandon our reason?
  • How can we think we are being rational and objective when we’re not, when it’s our environment and our emotions that are dictating our thought?
  • How come brilliant people are no better at figuring out what’s going on, that intelligence doesn’t help?

He says: “I think these questions are not just relevant to trying to understand markets, but ourselves.”


F* – a tale of bubbles and crashes
Traverse, 10 Cambridge Street, EH1 2ED.
Phone booking: 0131 228 1404
Trav 2: Thursday 22 – Saturday 24 Sep 2016
Evenings: 8pm.
Tickets and further details:


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