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Long Live The Little Knife, Film City, Glasgow

HHHH

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 look 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 online 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 metanarrative 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, it would seem.

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