Review: Art Heist, New Diorama

A lot of charm in Poltergeist’s Art Heist at the New Diorama Theatre, which doesn’t quite disguise a lack of substance

“How would a frame contain it?”

Criticising Art Heist feels a little bit like kicking a puppy, such is the charm of Poltergeist, the young and effusive company who took this show to Edinburgh this summer. A slightly retooled version appears at the New Diorama but despite an abundance of that charm, it doesn’t quite stick the landing.

Three art thieves all break into the same gallery at the same time to steal the same painting, while a security guard longs for a sandwich and the gift shop proves quite the distraction. To be sure we’re not quite in Ocean’s Eleven territory here, we’re not even in The Thomas Crown Affair

There’s a sweet daftness to the approach here. A narrator guides each of the thieves, provoking them to provide entertaining backstories, and an adroit use of technology offers an amusing shift in perspective. It is frequently engaging and fun and offers some neat bits of art trivia.

But beyond that, it doesn’t feel like there’s an awful lot more. The self-professed aim to look at art’s role in society comes to naught and no other depth of thought really emerges in its place. And structurally, it lacks a little originality (qv Conspiracy, also at Edinburgh this year) – still, a diverting way to spend an hour.

Running time@ 60 minutes (without interval)
Photos: The Other Richard
Art Heist is booking at the New Diorama until 26th October

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