Ricky Jay, the legendary American card entertainer, is coming to London's Old Vic Theatre for 20 performances only - and is setting a new record for ticket prices in the process. His one-man show, entitled Ricky Jay and His 52 Assistants (the latter being his pack of cards), was first presented at Off-Broadway's Second Stage Theatre in 1994, and returned there for a season at the beginning of 1998.

Directed by David Mamet, who also conceived the show with Jay, the audience configuration has been entirely changed for the Old Vic season, with all the seating on the stage itself (rather than the auditorium) in 10 tiered rows. The front row is being sold at £75 per ticket, the next five rows at £50 per ticket, the next three rows at £40 per ticket and the back row at £15 per ticket. The season runs from June 22 to July 17.

Jay's unusual sleight-of-hand and mentalist feats include his legendary ability to fling a playing card across the room and make it slice into the rind of a watermelon. His books on the subject of unusual magic include 'Cards as Weapons' and 'Learned Pigs & Fireproof Women'.

As a playwright, Mamet has regularly enjoyed success in London, ranging from a National Theatre production of his play Glengarry Glen Ross (which subsequently transferred to the Mermaid) to Edmond, Oleanna and The Old Neighborhood, all produced by the Royal Court.

The show is designed by Kevin Rigdon and lit by Jules Fisher.

- Mark Shenton, What's On Stage; David Lefkowitz.