Simon Raven went to see Michael Longhurst’s new production of Patrick Marber’s modern classic Dealer’s Choice.
Dealer’s Choice is a story about male camaraderie and obsession, set in the gritty world of amateur poker in 90’s London.
Michael Longhurst comes to the Royal & Derngate following his acclaimed production of Nick Payne’s Constellations at the Royal Court and in the West End, winning the Evening Standard Award for Best Play and receiving four Olivier nominations.
“I’ve never had much interest in gambling or poker, but an invite to see the revival of Patrick Marber’s play ‘Dealer’s Choice’ had me hurtling on a journey back to my Twenties in 1990’s London.
“Sitting in the beautiful Royal Theatre in Northampton, Michael Longhurst’s production unleashed a wave of hilarity that kept the audience gripped and entertained from opening to closing curtain.
“The likability of the characters in the play set the tone for this comic tragedy, skilfully crafted by Marber early on in his writing career. A sinister performance by Ian Burfield as Ash was in sharp and tense contrast to the witty banter induced by Marber’s jester, Mugsy.
“The seamlessly choreographed poker sequences worked beautifully, maintaining the speed and momentum of a play that refuses to allow your attention to drift for even a fraction of a second.
“I left the theatre feeling no more enlightened about the rules of a game that I am unlikely to ever play, but feeling thoroughly manhandled by the Derngate and gratefully entertained. Dealer’s Choice is a must-see at the Royal & Derngate.”
Dealer’s Choice is playing until Saturday 14 June 2014
Box Office: 01604 624811
Dealer’s Choice at the Royal & Derngate
Director: Michael Longhurst
Designer: Helen Goddard
Lighting Designer: Katharine Williams
Composer and Sound Designer: Richard Hammarton
Movement Director: Imogen Knight
Fight Director: Brett Yount
Casting Director: Cara Beckinsale