The Menier Chocolate Factory production of Dealers Choice, which opened on 3 October, will transfer to the West End’s Trafalgar Studio 1 for an initial 16-week engagement beginning 11 December (previews from 6 December). Behind the venture are producers David Babani, Sonia Friedman and Bob Boyett who secured a "first look" deal with the Menier earlier this year (See News, 15 Jun 2007).

Directed by former Sheffield Theatres artistic director Samuel West, the record-breaking, sold-out production closes at the Menier, where it won rave reviews (See Review Round-up, 5 Oct 2007), on 17 November before transferring with the same cast and creative team.

Dealers Choice is set after-hours in a restaurant where six men meet each week to play cards. Tonight the stakes are higher than usual – but winning has its price. In a night of psychological violence and bluff, the players stay up late and bust each other out.

The play premiered at the National’s Cottesloe Theatre in 1995, directed by Marber, and later transferred to the West End’s Vaudeville Theatre and won the Evening Standard Award for Best Comedy. Best known at that point as a stand-up comedian and TV sketch writer, Marber partly based his playwriting debut on his own experiences with gambling addiction. Two years later, he confirmed his reputation with Closer. The plays Howard Katz, After Miss Julie and Don Juan in Soho also followed, as did the screenplay of Notes on a Scandal, for which Marber was Oscar-nominated.

Samuel West’s production of Dealers Choice is designed by Tom Piper, with lighting by Neil Austin and sound by Gareth Owen. Malcolm Sinclair and Award winner Samuel Barnett (The History Boys) play father and son. Also in the cast are Roger Lloyd Pack, Stephen Wight, Ross Boatman and Jay Simpson.

The West End production is currently booking until 29 March 2008.

- by Tom Atkins