Theatre Review: Worth A Flutter Just Misses The Jackpot
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Look beyond the big names and high budgets of the West End and you’ll find a surprising number of small, intimate, yet impressive theatres above a number of London pubs. The Hope Theatre above Islington’s Hope and Anchor is one such venue: its capacity of 50 is filled to the brim for the preview of Worth a Flutter, a new comedy drama written by Michael Head.
Set in the writer’s native south-east London, the play is peppered with sexist laddish jokes and at first glance seems overly superficial. The majority of the scenes, told by way of flashbacks, are in the local greasy spoon, where semi-professional poker player, Matt (Michael Head) realises his stunning yet airheaded fiancée may be overrated. For gambler Matt, getting a girl is not quite so clear-cut as placing bets: trying to win over Helen, owner of the cafe, is made even more difficult when we realise that there is another man, Sam, who has the same idea.
The darkly humorous play is broken up every now and then with scenes inspired by the world of gambling, an element which makes the whole thing seem somewhat disjointed. Admittedly, some of the interjecting sketches are pretty funny, some clever, and some downright bizarre (the talking penis, for example). The star of the show has to be Helen (Clare McNamara) whose complex life story is revealed through her encounters with both Matt and Sam. A mix of laugh-worthy scenes, cringey sketches, and hard-hitting stories, Worth a Flutter may not be the bookies’ favourite, but for an off-West End drama with a difference, it’s worth a bet.
Worth a Flutter, Hope Theatre, 107 Upper Street, N1 IRL. Until 19 May 2018.
Last Updated 09 May 2018