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A big pay-off for those who wager on Walker’s Risk Everything



Review by Emma Whitelaw

THE how much is too much? How far is too far?

Risk Everything, currently showing at the Old Red Lion, is a hilariously dark comedy written by George F Walker.

It is the final instalment of a collection of six plays by the talented playwright, entitled Suburban Motel.

Donna King steals the show as the manipulative and desperate gambling addict, Carol.

In what can only be described as a performance of sheer brilliance, King zealously takes to the character who would risk everything, including the lives of her family, to win big.

The story takes place in a seedy motel room, where Carol is hiding out after being severely beaten for lifting cash from the notorious, but never seen, Steamboat Jeffries.

Not willing (or able) to clear the mess on her own, she soon drags her daughter, son-in-law and innocent bystander, wannabe porn-king, Michael, into the game.

With a mother-daughter relationship similar to that of Ab Fab’s Eddie and Saffie, Carol is constantly being reprimanded for her childishly irresponsible antics by her disapproving child, Denise.

Played by Provence Maydew, Denise, after a few hiccups along the way, is trying to get her life back on track and become an honest and respectable citizen. Her mother’s predicament, therefore, is most certainly not a welcome one.

Denise not only struggles to keep her mother in check, she must also keep tabs on her recovering junkie/TV addict husband RJ.

Although slightly idiotic, RJ is a loveable lad and played brilliantly by Nathan Nolan.

Unsuspecting Michael stumbles into the mess when Carol complains about the noise he’s making, while filming adult entertainment in the room next door.

Played by David Jansen, Michael may be part of the slime of the underworld, but he has a heart of gold.

To Carol, RJ and Michael are easy targets. She uses mind games and her sexuality to convince them both to take part in her cunning scheme against Steamboat Jefferies. The consequences of which is both exceedingly riotous and gripping.

The set is wonderful, from the cheesy 70s-inspired table lamps, to the tacky neon lights shining through the blinds.

Costuming and make up were also fabulous. Carol’s bruising and cuts were incredibly convincing, and her leopard skin shirt, teamed with extra mini miniskirt, added depth to the already seedy underbelly of the character.

The music and lighting were also credible. Sounds of running water from the bathroom and the make believe TV were all very well done in producing a motel-like atmosphere.

For a night of light-hearted comedy, Risk Everything is something I would definitely have a flutter on!

Risk Everything written by George F. Walker, directed by Jeremy Bond. Starring Donna King, Provence Maydew, Nathan Nolan and David Jansen. Set and Costume by Dorothy Wright, Lighting by Julian McCready, Original Music by ZAP! Music. Sound by Ben Finkelberg and Make Up by Wai Kan. 13th April to 8th May at Old Red Lion Theatre, 418 St John Street, London EC1. Box Office 020 7837 7816.

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