Dealer's Choice

This show has now closed, click here for a listing of current and future London shows

Opened 28 September 2007, closed 17 November 2007 at the Menier Chocolate Factory in London
Previewed 6 December 2007, opened 11 December 2007, closed 29 March 2008 at the Trafalgar Studios 1

"At least I'm a good loser" -- "That's why you're a loser" A major revival of Patrick Marber's first play Dealer's Choice in London directed by Samuel West. This revival comes to the Trafalgar Studios following a critically acclaimed sell-out season at The Menier Chocolate Factory - "play the man, not the cards"

Poker, money, men, power, complusion, fathers, sons and toilets - Dealer's Choice is Patrick Marber's exuberant debut play which originally premiered at The National Theatre in London in 1995.

This revival of Dealer's Choice was originally seen at The Menier Chocolate Factory from 28 September to 17 November 2007. The cast features Samuel Barnett, Ross Boatman, Roger Lloyd Pack, Jay Simpson, Malcolm Sinclair and Stephen Wight. Casting subject to change.

"Patrick Marber's extraordinarily accomplished debut play, Dealer's Choise, [is] now 12 years old... You don't need to be a cardsharp or appreciate the nuances of Omaha, Lowball or Hedgehog to enjoy this piece. It's about parents and children, about winning and losing, about knowing when to cash in your chips and, more than anything, about playing the man, not the cards, whatever the game. And it's busting with fantastic one-liners. Director Sam West has dealt himself a royal flush of fine actors who can handle the jokes as adeptly as the jokers." The Mail on Sunday

"This drama of male competitiveness and self-deception played out round a poker table is as lacerating as it is bitterly comic... The entire cast is magnificent, but most notable are Roger Lloyd Pack, as an outsider with the knowledge that loneliness is power, and Malcolm Sinclair as Stephen, in whom the balance of ruthlessness and compassion, frankness and mystery is as meticulous, and as fragile, as a house of cards." The Independent on Sunday

"It's a rare thing to find a good new play, and I mean a really good - as in 'I'd like to see that again, now' - new play; it's an even rarer thing for London audiences to be offered the chance to see such a play, in a new production with a great cast, within just over a decade of its first opening... The build-up to the act of gambling is like a game of psychological poker in its own right, and the facetious wit and touching humour with which Marber outlines his characters is remarkable... In the second half, as the game begins, Marber's careful preparation pays rich emotional dividends... A better analysis of the rituals of male bonding you will not see, nor of the pain of being the father to a son who will always remain, tantalisingly, out of reach." The Sunday Telegraph

"About time somebody revived Patrick Marber's play, first performed 12 years ago, during the raucous dying days of Conservative rule. It's a brilliantly bitter homage to an age of ruthless risk-taking and mad investments... You don't have to understand poker to get the point: this is also a play about obsession, and obsessions need rigorous discipline... Samuel West's production, like Marber's writing, is like a man smiling coldly at you while juggling with a set of daggers." The Sunday Times

Patrick Marber on his debut play Dealer's Choice: "I wrote the first draft of Dealer's Choice alone at night in one week in early January 1994. I put the answering machine on, I left my flat to buy cigarettes or to walk the dog. I spoke to maybe two people all week. I was holed up and happy. I felt like a writer. I then spent a year re-writing the play in the company of hundreds of people: actors, stage-management, friends, interested parties, audiences... Dealer's Choice is, among other things, about gambling. Appropriately, I've been lucky. Throughout 1994 during rewrites and through early 1995 when in production at the National Theatre, there were a number of people who gave me advice, encouragement and help in too many ways to mention... During this period the play was also re-worked at the National Theatre's Studio in the form of rehearsed readings, improvisations and a small-scale production. Without the Studio this play would not exist."