Shoot Festival

Belgrade Theatre

Gamble was probably a gamble from the start. It took a highly contentious subject, gambling addiction, that, as pointed out, the pandemic increased in frequency and danger and used the wrong tone to highlight.

The piece was essentially about being in relationship with someone with a gambling addiction. But, for me, the telling of the story was too frivolous, superficial and it was often hard to see the story for the telling of it.

Hannah Walker, BSL interpreted by Faye Alvi with help from Rosa Postlethwaite, told the story with help from some pixelated Vox Pop interviews with gamblers and an enormous amount of digitally generated content.

Hannah’s storytelling was highly personal, based on the social issues that arise from living with someone whose addiction demands dishonesty particularly around financial issues. While those issues appeared to be resolved, trust is seriously dented when such huge sums are involved and the lure of commercialism and capitalism demand that homes must be secured and built, babies must be born and family life must continue. We need money to live; gambling usually leads to loss and therefore the vicious circle has us giddy and confused.

Hannah makes the interesting point that, during the pandemic, shop-based gambling turned into online gambling where there are fewer safeguards and, because gamblers were home-based and bored, the opportunities were greater and likewise the potential harm.

Directed by Penman, there were interesting points raised but it was not for me.

Jane Howard


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