How to Steal a Diamond (4 stars)

Byre Theatre, St Andrews, Thu 5 Oct, then touring


Oxygen and water, that’s what diamonds are made of. And yet whatever rung of society you are hanging off, the possession of these rocks is an invitation to a world of riches.

Inspiring independent theatre company, Vox Motus, serve up a kind of greatest hits collection with this intriguing take on the criminal masterclass. Based on several individual works-in-progress staged at various theatres in 2005, How to Steal switches, with considerable ingenuity, between the story of a solo diamond thief who swallows her booty, two African mine workers who steal from the mine face and three white collar fraudsters who graduate from credit card laundering to the mother of all diamond switches. Tightly written, inventively staged, well performed and mercifully short, How to Steal even manages to make reference to the too often forgotten father of modern magic Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin (1805-1871).

It’s not perfect though; the odd stab at audience participation is off-putting and a few of the performances occasionally lapse into caricature. But hey, as Confucius said, ‘better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.’

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