A Gambler's Guide to Dying

Performed and written by Gary McNair, A Gambler’s Guide to Dying is a story told by a young boy, charting his grandfather’s extraordinary life of gambling. Having won a fortune betting on the 1966 World Cup, he then stakes it all on living longer than predicted after a prognosis of terminal cancer.

A touching heartfelt story of a child’s relationship with their dying grandfather.

This beautiful and witty account is eloquently acted by McNair. We are taken on a rollercoaster of highs and lows as he describes with sincerity his fondness and occasional anger at his grandfather’s life and stories. His acting is consistent and truthful, never overdoing it. His script’s use of comedy to diffuse tension is superb and his comic timing is perfect. He has us in stitches one moment, shedding a tear the next.

Gareth Nicholls’ direction is excellent: never is a moment overdone, nor are we ever bored by a lack of action from the lone actor. The pace is excellent and propels us along with the story whilst not leaving us behind. The first half lacks the pace and energy of the second half, but once it gets going we are along for the ride.

The cardboard boxes littering the stage hint at a man whose life revolves around an obsession – highlighting that many things matter less to someone in the clutches of a serious and life-long addiction.

This is absolutely a top pick of my fringe so far, and will appeal to a very broad audience with its mixture of wit, comedy and a touching heartfelt story of a child’s relationship with their dying grandfather.

Reviews by Dixon Baskerville

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

What are the odds of living an extraordinary life? The story of one boy’s granddad who won a fortune betting on the 1966 World Cup and, when diagnosed with cancer, gambled it all on living to see the year 2000. An intergenerational tale of what we live for and what we leave behind. Gary McNair returns to the Traverse after last year’s award-winning five-star show Donald Robertson is Not a Stand-Up Comedian: ‘A tour de force and a must-see’ ***** (Stage). ‘Brilliantly conceived’ **** (Scotsman). **** (Guardian). **** (Times)'. www.madeinscotlandshowcase.com