Review: Misha Glenny, Norwich Theatre Royal

Misha Glenny, author of McMafia. Photo: Roberto Ricciuti/Getty Images

Misha Glenny, author of McMafia. Photo: Roberto Ricciuti/Getty Images - Credit: Roberto Ricciuti/Getty Images

Eve Stebbing is fascinated - and chilled - by Misha Glenny's insights into a gangster-laden world.

The author of the book that inspired Sunday night hit, McMafia, turns out to be a softly-spoken and friendly type. Hardly the sort of person one would imagine spending all their time interviewing criminals 'because it's dangerous.'

But it seems that for Misha Glenny, his greatest passion in life is to find some hardened gangster and sit down for a really good chat.

It's just as well that there are some who take this view, or the rest of us would remain uninformed. Perhaps, mercifully so. One member of the audience asked Glenny if we were doomed. He replied that this was the most worrying period he had witnessed in his lifetime, with the exception of the Cuban Missile Crisis. But given that some of us only watched McMafia because we were too scared to stand up and switch it off, it's hardly surprising that Glenny would turn out to have some unsettling opinions.

The theory that shaped the television series is that organised crime has now become such a global business, that it's as common and ubiquitous as McDonald's. Whether or not the effects of it are really to be seen on every street corner, is perhaps debatable.

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Glenny is most convincing is on the London property market.

His views on the development of global crime are equally persuasive. He starts with global financial opportunities provided by Baroness Thatcher and Ronald Reagan when they introduced the free movement of capital in 1986, and culminates with a terrifying insight into the current and future criminal capacities of the internet.

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It is with great skill that Glenny creates a coherent picture of the shadowy world which lies alongside our daily reality. An evening in his company does not feel wasted.

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