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The Gambler

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
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Pleasance Dome
1-26 August

This physical theatre/dance show takes itself far too seriously without really having anything to say. We see a late-Victorian (or thereabouts) Frenchman fall victim to playing cards and roulette, and are taken on a fairly giddy and uneven journey though his life and love, both tainted forever by his addiction to the game.

Guillame Pigé plays both the protagonist's beneficent and constant love interest, and, via a rather smart dress which flicks on a whim from virginal white to veins of colour, a Lady Luck-a-like casino succubus. Most of the dances represent a stylised peek into the lead's consciousness, replete with flinging cards around and spinning on a roulette table. It's fun at first, but soon waxes repetitive. What's more the pity is that despite the focus placed on the psychology of gambling (the show claims to have based itself on part upon conversations with modern-day gambling addicts), The Gambler offers up only superficial and platitudinous commentary on the experience. Winning is thrilling, losing devastating, it is hard to stop, gamblers delude themselves – none of this is insightful. While the dance routines evoke some of the allure of a high-stakes card game, these un-nuanced descriptions are, unfortunately, a staple of the show, which never comes to anything more.

While the choreography is at times impressive, but the bodily talent put forth in this show is let down by a very shallow narrative. It is trite but necessary to recommend you not put any money on this show.


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