Dominic Frisby has come to the Edinburgh Fringe to tell us about tax. He knows what he’s talking about as a MoneyWeek commentator, Bitcoin expert and writer for financial websites: “taxation is what holds society as we know it together, and yet there is a dearth of media on the subject”. Frisby has taken it upon himself to address this issue in a tiny Edinburgh venue. If you don’t know his financial work, you’ll certainly have heard his voice on adverts including Booking.com and Colgate.
Frisby sets out to show his audience how tax has shaped our history, shapes society today and will continue to in the future. Dressed in a checked suit and bowler hat, he delivers his lecture on economics using hand drawn pie charts to show how the UK government’s unbalanced income and expenditure are made up and how the UK tax code is tens of times longer than even the Chilcot report. It’s not all serious and dry; Frisby has a specific microphone set up to deliver his jokes and a soap box and megaphone for when he gets on his high horse. He also has a wheel of tax which he spins to identify which historical moment’s tax story he will tell today’s audience from Magna Carta to Brexit.
Frisby clearly knows his subject matter which makes a show that could be a lot like being back at school a lot more entertaining. It’s a shame that his more controversial views on sorting out HMRC, ripping up the current complex and wordy UK tax code and using land tax instead don’t get much air time in the hour. As he says himself, if he’s aiming to start a revolution, talking to fifty people in a tiny room in Edinburgh is not the most efficient way to do it.
It’s very clear what this show is about so you’ll know if it’s for you or not from the title alone. If tax is something that you’d like to know a bit more about then you could do worse than spend an hour with Mr Frisby.
Reviewed by Rhiannon Evans
Photo: Peter Maxwell
Dominic Frisby: Let’s Talk About Tax plays at the Gilded Balloon until 28 August 2016