A Gambler's Guide to Dying
Closed 1h 10m
A Gambler's Guide to Dying

A Gambler's Guide to Dying NYC Reviews and Tickets

(13 Reviews)
Members say
Thought-provoking, Funny, Delightful, Clever, Entertaining

About the Show

Show and Tell presents a solo show about a granddad who won a fortune in 1966 and, when diagnosed with cancer, gambled it all on living to see the year 2000. Part of 59E59's annual Brits Off Broadway festival.

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Member Reviews (13)

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716 Reviews | 219 Followers
Enchanting, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Touching, Inspiring

See it if One man show about a relationship between a boy and his dying grandfather. What matters most during this time?

Don't see it if You don't want to further appreciate the dying process. I had some trouble understanding the Scottish accent and humor.

544 Reviews | 58 Followers
A poignant solo show

See it if You enjoy a good solo show about family relationships.

Don't see it if You hate solo shows

414 Reviews | 72 Followers
Entertaining, Thought-provoking, Storytelling

See it if You would enjoy a solo performance telling the partly true story of a Scottish grandfather as he nears the end of life.

Don't see it if You have trouble with Scottish accents.

349 Reviews | 58 Followers
Heartfelt, Onehander, Memory-piece, Slice of life

See it if One man's remembrance of his endearing, exasperating grandfather told from a young teen's point of view. Charming & funny, some lines were..

Don't see it if ...lost due to McNair's heavy Scottish accent. Not new territory but a very personal prism on what makes a good death for patient & family.

197 Reviews | 74 Followers
Delightful, Funny, Resonant, Thought-provoking

See it if you like storytelling, love British football, ever lived in the UK, or just want to be absorbed in a very true-to-life narrative

Don't see it if you have trouble with Scottish accents, don't like storytelling (think: 70-minute Moth story on steroids), hate small theater/one-man shows Read more

167 Reviews | 25 Followers
Great acting, Great writing, Slow, Thought-provoking

See it if Gary McNair's solo show spans generations, and makes the art of storytelling an unforgettable experience, with slow moments at times.

Don't see it if if you do not consider storytelling a valuable art of communications, and hate one character plays

139 Reviews | 18 Followers
Bittersweet, Funny, Nostalgic, Tender, Compassionate

See it if you enjoy a story about a relationship between a grandparent and grandson maturing over a number of years

Don't see it if you have trouble understanding a heavy Scottish accent

61 Reviews | 16 Followers
Clever, Entertaining, Quirky, Thought-provoking

See it if You like short, one person shows, in a small theater.

Don't see it if You're not interested in stories about a young man spending time with his dying grandfather. Read more

Critic Reviews (19)

April 17th, 2017

“A stunning and original one-man show…This is one to experience. It is a dramatic, yet humorous and touching account that traces the life of a compulsive gambler...This is an intriguing story about a man who chooses to live by his own rules. Gary McNair's solo performance is absolutely superb…The creative team has done a great job of bringing the show to the New York stage…‘A Gambler's Guide to Dying’ is an ideal production for its intimate performance space.”
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Lighting & Sound America
April 17th, 2017

"It's certainly a story one hasn't heard before, but for some reason, it doesn't really catch fire. McNair's text focuses on the boy and his grandfather, yet doesn't succeed in bringing their world to life. I never quite believed the boy's attachment to his eccentric relative, who didn't seem to deserve it. As a result, the piece is more of a curio than an engaging coming-of-age story set against the background of a beloved relative's almost excessively long good-bye."
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April 14th, 2017

“‘To some he was dad, to some he was mate,’ says McNair at the top of his monologue. ‘To others he was liar, cheat, addict, hero, storyteller.’ Over the course of the next 70 minutes, McNair will also do, with modest effects and a modicum of success, other voices including his much younger self, a schoolteacher, mates of Archie's, and even his own mother. Through it all, the one thing we never lose sight—or sound—of, is his love for his grandfather.”
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April 10th, 2017

"McNair has real stage presence. Endowed with a sturdy physique and a well-modulated voice that is colored with a burr, he effortlessly holds his own as he seamlessly shifts from one character to another. What's more, he has written a fluid monologue that is a mix of prose and poetry interspersed with Scottish folklore and popular culture...The street language of the Gorbals works to advantage here and keeps the riff from becoming a sugar-coated eulogy."
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Front Mezz Junkies
April 9th, 2017

"We instantly feel the desire for writer and performer Gary McNair to let us into his grandfather’s life and backyard...McNair keeps the story simple and funny, filled with sentimentality and touching portraits...He’s an excellent storyteller, just like his grandfather. It’s a bit light on the bigger meanings of the world, but the idea of what is the ‘best bet’ is a solid emotionally centered idea...It’s very personal and deeply moving for McNair and for us."
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April 9th, 2017

"Electrifying and emotionally charged...A remarkable solo show by Gary McNair, a young master storyteller who not only has a keen grasp on rhetorical devices but also knows how to employ those devices in a solo performance...Under the judicious direction of Gareth Nicholls, McNair commands every inch of the set with an authentic and believable performance...These well-developed characters have conflicts that drive an engaging plot that captures life’s comedic and tragic experiences."
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Theatre's Leiter Side
April 9th, 2017

“There are a few self-conscious moments when the monologue falters, especially when McNair's tale reaches too hard for higher meanings couched in inspirational language. On the other hand, you'll probably recognize the way we all burnish in memory even the more tarnished parts of a beloved late one's existence. If you're looking for a Scottish-accented, well-written, and feelingly performed solo play, 'A Gambler's Guide to Dying' is a pretty sure thing.”
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April 9th, 2017

"This is the kind of small, bittersweet story that O. Henry might’ve written with more economy and effect. As a play lasting over an hour, it needs to be more lively...McNair plays all the roles with only a squeaky voice to differentiate. Not that it matters. He’s focused and sympathetic, but the piece is extremely slight. Director Gareth Nicholls manages to move his sole actor with variety and casual purpose. Pacing is fine."
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