The Quant

theatre review | Read in About 2 minutes
Published 09 Aug 2014

This solo show from Jamie Griffiths covers much the same ground as Martin Scorsese’s Oscar-nominated blockbuster The Wolf of Wall Street. The difference is that while the latter was a grandiose exercise in excess, using gaudy broad strokes to critique hypercapitalism, The Quant is a much more thorough portrait of human greed and corruption. With an extremely sparse set, minimal use of props and a script littered with impenetrable, technical language, the play focuses on the motivations and working methods of the average market trader. It shuns the salacious details of life on a staggeringly high paycheck, though hints that there may never have been any. For all we know, our narrator and protagonist never took a Quaalude in his life, counting only DVD box sets and video games as his major vices.

Despite possessing spectacular wealth and his actions having a far reaching impact on the world at large, our overcompensating host remains the lonely escapist of his teenage years. He refers to currency as though it’s a natural resource and regards the stock market as having an elemental power. The environment he’s shown to inhabit is a pathetic substitute for the real world on which it has a hugely detrimental effect.

The fall this rather unpleasant character suffers is entirely deserved, though does little to move the audience. We see his frustration and helplessness clearly, but, torn between pity and outrage, end up feeling nothing.