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A GAMBLER'S GUIDE TO DYING

 '  A Gambler's Guide To Dying  ' by  Gary McNair   (6th Oct - 8th Oct @ HOME) // Photo Courtesy of  HOME

'A Gambler's Guide To Dying' by Gary McNair  (6th Oct - 8th Oct @ HOME) // Photo Courtesy of HOME

Last night I made my way to HOME to catch the 7pm showing of A Gambler's Guide To Dying and let me tell you, it was time well spent. I had read the blurb of A Gambler's Guide To Dying in the press release and thought, 'This sounds different. Don't think I've ever really thought about what could be going through a dying man's mind, especially one who was a gambler'. And it was decided, I would go and see this performance about a Scottish man who lived for the rush you feel when flirting with chance and chanted frequently, I'm sure, his own version of 'May the odds be ever in your favour'.

A Gambler’s Guide to Dying comes to HOME following a sell-out Fringe Festival run at the Traverse Theatre in 2015, a Scotsman Fringe First Award and subsequent sell out tours of Australia and the USA. Written and performed by Gary McNair and directed by Gareth Nicholls, this exquisite piece of theatre examines the odds of living an extraordinary life. It is the story of one boy’s granddad who won a fortune betting on the 1966 football 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
— HOME

I arrived early and waited patiently for the announcement about the opening of the theatre doors by reading Us by David Nicholls - a really good read so far - and munching on my dinner I grabbed from Pret - always the Hoisin Duck wrap.  Once the theatre doors opened, I found a seat that would give me a good view of the stage - 5th row on the left, 3rd in - and as the rest of the audience were strolling in, we settled down listening to a recording that sounded like an old football match that cut off intermittently and was speckled by familiar crackles akin to those of old tellys that received more slaps than pats on the back. And then, the lights dimmed...

I won't give you a blow-by-blow account of the show. Although...

Funny. 

Beautiful.

Powerful.

Hopeful.

Sad.

These are but a handful of the words I would use to describe A Gambler's Guide To Dying (6th - 8th Oct). The story was written and reenacted brilliantly by Gary McNair actually I am not sure I can say that seeing as I wasn't there when the events happened if they were real so really, what I am trying to say is that he regaled us with his charm and readily-made-apparent talent for storytelling.  Directed by Gareth Nicholls, this tale shines a light on the complexities of a human being; hints at the various kinds of silences in life there are; allows us to imagine how we'd feel if we received a telegram in this day and age; challenges us to think what we carry around with us - the past, the present and/or the future?; and invites us to decide on how we'd want to spend our last days.

  Gary McNair  in ' A Gambler's Guide To Dying ' //  Source:  Mac Birmingham

Gary McNair in 'A Gambler's Guide To Dying' // Source: Mac Birmingham

I did not want the show to come to an end but I did feel kind of bad for Gary as he had been talking almost non-stop for about 70 mins so he definitely deserved a break. And as we are frequently told 'All good things must come to an end'. Anyway, I'm really glad I saw this show as I had not had the best day and the show gave me multiple reasons to really laugh (alongside this dude who had the most captivating and deep laugh ever that just hung in the air) and contemplate the deep stuff most of us tend to mull over when we should be getting ready for bed.

If you are in the Manchester area try and catch A Gambler's Guide To Dying before you miss it. Personally, I think we have already established that I don't think you'd regret it. It is running until the 8th of October and is one of the 11 shows that are part of HOME's international theatre festival, ORBIT.  

And if you made it this far down the post I congratulate you because I know some say that it is indeed too long... too much...