Pleasance, Edinburgh
August, 1995

The Odds On company have produced a resourceful, vibrant version of Dostoyevsky's moral tale about the high price paid even by winners at the roulette table. On a set consisting of five giant dice they manage to evoke the fervour of the casino, the vertigo of an Alpine peak and even a hot-air balloon trip. Stephen Sharkey's lucid adaptation gives equal weight to the gaming element and a story of frustrated, manipulative love; Erica Whyman's precise but exuberant direction tears through the opacity of a plot in which everyone seems to be intriguing against everyone else, and Andrew Mackay heads a dedicated cast with a vatful of brio and the fervour of a man converted by his role into a real-life devotee of the spinning silver ball. The overlapping action and persistent air of mild, trippy unreality are audacious for a show in the cramped confines of the Pleasance Attic, but this is one gamble that pays off in spades.

Written for The Independent.

Copyright © Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.

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