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Dealers Choice - One4Review

Poker action is the subject matter for this two act play set in a London restaurant. Five characters Steve, the manager, Karl, his son, waiters Mugsy and Frank, and Sweeney, the chef, meet up for a regular card session after the restaurant has closed on a Sunday night. On this occasion they are joined by professional gambler Ash, who is owed a big sum of money by Karl. The first act starts brightly with the ever optimistic Mugsy having the funniest lines. However, the second act with the the six characters sitting around the table playing poker degenerates to little more than the characters slagging each other off. I would lay odds that there isn’t another production around that uses the F word more than this one – ok for dramatic effect but its unremitting use does grate. The quality of the acting was uneven. Steve, Mugsy and Ash are the most successfully portrayed.   There is a problem in the layout of the venue for the direction of the play in that, with the seating being arranged on three sides of the stage, most members of the audience will have a back view of at least one the players virtually throughout the whole of the second act. Poker is an interesting subject for theatrical interpretation with its potential for subtle drama and tension. Unfortunately, this play is unlikely to be the one to appeal if you are looking for these qualities.    **

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