Skip to main content

The Gamblers

Dundee Rep
Four stars
Ever feel like you've been cheated? John Lydon's famous phrase springs
to mind in Selma Dimitrijevic's production of her new version of
Gogol's nineteenth century comedy, penned here with Mikhail Durnenkov.
This isn't just because of the Sex Pistols t-shirt sported by one of
the key players in the elaborate sting that follows from an unholy
alliance between con-men. It is the way too that Dimitrijevic and her
all-female ensemble play with artifice and gender in a way that itself
is a stylistic gamble. Yet, as each character enters the locker-room to
play macho games, it pays dividends even as the gang hustle their
victim into suspending their own disbelief.

Initially nothing is hidden in this co-production between Greyscale and
Dundee Rep Ensemble in association with Northern Stage and Stellar
Quines. Once the sextet of players have put on charity shop suits and
waistcoats, they pick up instruments to become a junkyard dance-band
before a playground whistle calls them to attention. Everything from
thereon in is an elaborate game, as each adopt the exaggerated
mannerisms of lads on a stag do, attempting to out-drink, out-swagger
and out-smart one another with increasingly ridiculous effect.

Having women put on the fragile mask of machismo in such a way not only
heightens the comedy of what might well be a template for every
big-screen depiction of hustlers ever made. With a cast of six
featuring Amanda Hadingue as newcomer Iharev, Hannah McPake as leader
of the crew Uteshitelny and the Rep Ensemble's Emily Winter as the wily
Shvohnev, it also makes for a piece of gender-bending subversion that
double-bluffs its way onto the stage with barely a trick missed.

The Herald, October 28th 2014


ends



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Suzy Glass – Message from the Skies

Freedom of movement matters to Suzy Glass, the arts and events producer currently overseeing the second edition of Message from the Skies.This animated literary derive around the city forms part of this year’s Edinburgh’s Hogmanay programme, and runs right through till Burns’ Night. Glass’ concerns are inherent in the event itself, which has commissioned six writers from different disciplines and experiences to each pen a love letter to Europe. Each writer has then paired up with a composer and visual artist or film-maker, with the results of each collaboration projected in monumental fashion on the walls of one of half a dozen of the capital’s most iconic buildings.
With venues stretching from the south side of Edinburgh to Leith, and with one city centre stop requiring a walk up Calton Hill, there is considerable legwork required to complete the circuit. It shouldn’t be considered a race, however, and audiences are free to move between venues at their leisure, visiting each site on d…

Kieran Hurley – Mouthpiece

Things have changed since Kieran Hurley first began writing the play that would become Mouthpiece, which opens at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh this weekend. At the time, Hurley was, in his own words, “quite new on the scene.” As a writer and performer, he had already scored hits with Beats and Chalk Farm, two pieces that put him on the map with a new generation of theatre-makers steeped in an equally new wave of grassroots opposition that drew from the iconography of revolutions past. Where Beats looked at the politicisation of 1990s club culture, Chalk Farm, co-written with AJ Taudevin, focused on a teenage boy caught up in the 2011 London riots.
More plays followed. Some, like Heads Up used the same solo story-telling aesthetic to look at an everyday apocalypse. More recently, Square Go, written with Gary McNair, dissected toxic masculinity through a school playground fight.
All the while as Hurley developed as a writer, from new kid on the block to established provocateur, this…

Rob Drummond – The Mack

Rob Drummond was at home in England when he looked at the news feed on his phone, and saw a post about the fire at Glasgow School of Art. It was June 2018, and the writer and performer behind such hits as Grain in the Blood, Bullet Catch and Our Fathers initially presumed the post was to mark the fourth anniversary of the 2014 blaze in GSA’s Mackintosh Building, which was undergoing a major restoration after much of it was destroyed.
As it turned out, the news was far worse, as reports of a second fire were beamed across the world. As someone who had taken Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s iconic construction for granted while living in Glasgow, Drummond was as stunned as anyone else with even a passing relationship with the Mack.
While emotions continue to run high in response to the disaster, Drummond channelled his thoughts on all this into what he does best. The result is The Mack, a new play that forms part of Oran Mor’s A Play, A Pie and a Pint lunchtime theatre season in Glasgow prior …