Dealer's Choice

Play by Patrick Marber. "At least I'm a good loser" - "That's why you're a loser" - poker, money, men, power, complusion, fathers, sons and toilets - "Play the man. Not the cards".

Original West End London Production 1995

1st West End London Revival 2007

Patrick Marber's plays include Closer, Don Juan In Soho, and Miss Julie.


Original West End London Production 1995

Previewed 2 February 1995, Opened 9 February 1995, Closed 22 April 1995 (in repertory) at the National Theatre's Cottesloe Theatre (now Dorfman Theatre)
Transferred 3 May 1995, Closed 28 October 1995 at the Vaudeville Theatre

The cast at London's Cottesloe Theatre and the West End's Vaudeville Theatre up to Saturday 26 August 1995 featured Nigel Lindsay as 'Mugsy', Ray Winstone as 'Sweeney', Nicholas Day as 'Stephen', Phil Daniels as 'Frankie', David Bark-Jones as 'Carl', and Tom Georgeson as 'Ash'.

The cast at the West End's Vaudeville Theatre from Tuesday 29 August 1995 through to Saturday 28 October 1995 featured Nigel Lindsay as 'Mugsy', Glen Murphy as 'Sweeney', Nicholas Day as 'Stephen', Ross Boatman as 'Frankie', Stephen Stigwood as 'Carl', and Kenneth Oxtoby as 'Ash'.

Directed by Patrick Marber, with designs by Bunny Christie, lighting by Mick Hughes, and sound by Sue Patrick.


1st West End London Revival 2007

Previewed 28 September 2007, Opened 3 October 2007, Closed 17 November 2007 at the Menier Chocolate Factory
Previewed 6 December 2007, Opened 11 December 2007, Closed 29 March 2008 at the Trafalgar Studios 1 (now Trafalgar Theatre)

A major revival of Patrick Marber's Dealer's Choice in London directed by Samuel West

Following an acclaimed season at the Menier Chocolate Factory in South-East London, this production transfers to the West End's Trafalgar Studios.

The cast at London's Menier Chocolate Factory and the West End's Trafalgar Studios 1 featured Stephen Wight as 'Mugsy', Ross Boatman as 'Sweeney', Malcolm Sinclair as 'Stephen', Jay Simpson as 'Frankie', Samuel Barnett as 'Carl', and Roger Lloyd Pack as 'Ash'.

Directed by Sam West, with designs by Tom Piper, lighting by Neil Austin, music by Terry Davies, and sound by Gareth Owen.

Malcolm Sinclair's London theatre credits include the roles of 'Dr Rance' in David Grindley's revival of Joe Orton's What The Butler Saw at the Hampstead Theatre, and transfer to the West End's Criterion Theatre in 2005; 'Major Giles Flack' in Michael Grandage's revival of Peter Nichols' Privates on Parade at the Donmar Warehouse in 2001; 'Richard Greatham' in Declan Donnellan's revival of Noel Coward's Hay Fever at the Savoy Theatre in 1999; 'Aleksandr Vladimirovich Serebryakov' in Katie Mitchell's revival of Anton Chekhov's Uncle Vanya, for the Royal Shakespeare Company, at the Young Vic Theatre in 1998; the title role of 'Jeeves' in Alan Ayckbourn's revival of the Andrew Lloyd Webber and Alan Ayckbourn musical By Jeeves at the Duke of York's Theatre and Lyric Theatre in 1996; and 'Acaste' in Paul Unwin's revival of Moliere's The Misanthrope at the National Theatre's Lyttelton Theatre in 1989.

Samuel Barnett's London stage credits include the role of 'Posner' in the original cast of Nicholas Hytner's production of Alan Bennett's The History Boys at the National Theatre's Lyttelton Theatre in 2004.

Roger Lloyd Pack's London theatre credits include the roles of 'Sarah the Cook' in Edward Hall's production of Mark Ravenhill's Dick Whittington and His Cat at the Barbican Theatre in 2006; 'Etienne Plucheux' in Richard Jones' revival of Georges Feydeau's A Flea in Her Ear at the Old Vic Theatre in 1989; 'John Rosmer' in Sarah Pia Anderson's revival of Henrik Ibsen's Rosmersholm at the National Theatre's Cottesloe Theatre in 1987; 'Tim Allgood' in Michael Blakemore's production of Michael Frayn's Noises Off at the Hammersmith Lyric Theatre, and transfer to the West End's Savoy Theatre in 1982; and 'Aston' in Kevin Billington's revival of Harold Pinter's The Caretaker at the Shaw Theatre in 1976.

"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."

Dealer's Choice in London at the Trafalgar Studios previewed from 6 December 2007, opened on 11 December 2007, and closed on 29 March 2008