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Review - Gamble

Pleasance Theatre

Playing until 24th February 2024 then a UK tour

Photo credit: Andrew Moore

Review {AD-PR Invite}

Welcome to the world of online gambling: a place of glitz, glamour, and capitalist greed. Creator and star Hannah Walker, accompanied on stage by co-creator Rosa Postlethwaite and BSL interpreter Faye Alvi guide us through this murky virtual metropolis in Gamble.

The 60-minute long show sees Walker telling us the story of a gorgeous, effervescent woman (who is definitely not her) and her relationship with the ‘Hairy Man’ (depicted by Postlethwaite) as he battles an online gambling addiction.

Directed by Paula Penman, Gamble is a multimedia show that incorporates many different theatrical mediums to tell Walker’s extremely vulnerable and personal story, including audience participation, music, and dance. While some of these moments added some hilarious levity to the difficult topic — a song about shopping at John Lewis, set to the tune of Fergie’s ‘Glamorous’ was a personal highlight — many of the more in-your-face set pieces were overly long and started to detract from the story, rather than making it more impactful.

Walker oozes charisma on stage and is a naturally compelling storyteller, so I would have liked to have seen some of the multimedia set pieces stripped back so we could have enjoyed more of her performance.

Towards the end of the show, the curtains of theatricality are pulled back to reveal the true reality of online gambling and its effects on individuals and their loved ones through a series of anonymised Zoom interviews, including one with Walker herself. This is then followed by Postlewaite reading out a letter written by the real-life ‘Hairy Man’ to share his thoughts on the show and how it told his story. These moments provide an incredibly poignant ending, hammering home the urgency of the message that sits at the heart of Gamble.

Gamble is a piece that takes lots of big swings, which I must applaud in a piece about such a taboo topic; however, it does have its misses. It’s a quirky and zany show which will open up some powerful conversations, but there is a lot of potential to make its voice even stronger.

Key creatives

Created and performed by: Hannah Walker and Rosa Postlethwaite

Devised by: Hannah Walker and Rosa Postlethwaite, and Faye Alvi

Director: Paula Penman

BSL interpreter/performer: Faye Alvi

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