Skin in the Game exposes the nefarious consequences that gambling addictions can inflict upon families, in particular displaying how addicts become unrecognisable to their loved ones and to themselves. The play follows three siblings trying to sell their father's flat after he is placed in a pricey care home, whilst their brother Jamie's gambling habit ravishes their funds.
Photo Credit: Old Red Lion Theatre
It was apparent in Jamie’s behavior that his mind was constantly elsewhere, and he was especially absent in conversations with his siblings. Sound effects mimicking a casino, with buzzing noises of a slot machine, transported the audience into Jamie’s preoccupation.
While Jamie was the main character, I found Charlie Allen's portrayal of Danny to be the most compelling performance. Allen beautifully portrayed a hostile, violent and manipulative older brother, with feigned, rare, tender moments. Danny was unrivaled in his family, showing very little mercy to Jamie, Michelle or even his father.
The play felt tiresome at first, but it was remedied by a gripping turning point which resulted in the audience's complete loss of trust in Jamie, making us question every character's actions and motivations. The flashback towards the end balanced the play and tied it together, not only filling in the missing pieces but bringing in Whitworth’s brilliant acting which was remarkably subtle and powerful.
Skin in the Game was emotionally draining and incredibly vulnerable—certainly not lacking in depth. However, it was occasionally chaotic, and could have benefited from more subtlety.
'Skin in the Game' is playing at the Old Red Lion Theatre till the 14th of September and tickets are available here.
Edited by Alexia McDonald, Digital Editor