How far would you go to achieve what you want in life? Pulitzer Award winning  playwright David Mamet’s character psychiatrist Margaret Ford risks her life to cure her patient and  write a book  in “House of Games” made  in 1987.

The movie has now been adapted to Almeida ‘s stage by Richard Bean. The play met its audiences last night for the first time and will surely attract thousands more  until 6 November.

Mike(Michael Landes) and Margaret Ford(Nancy Carroll) in House of Games at Almeida Theatre.

On the second level of the stage ,Margaret Ford (Nancy Carroll) appears  in her  white bright almost purified clinic  with a young suicidal patient  Billy Hahn(Al Weaver) who lost  $25 000 in House of Games and can not pay it back.

“You can’t help me ,what do you know about the world.” ,shouts Billy .He even insults her best -selling book “Drive” about obsessive compulsion. Repressed psychiatrist  looks like a weak  blond woman as she keeps quiet.However her first intervention in the end of the session is to visit the House of Games to gain Billy’s confidence.

Before Ford introduces herself in the House Games ,compulsive book buyer  barman  shows  her picture on her latest book cover in the  hardly lit bar on the first level of the stage.

Mike(Michael Landes) ,to whom the debit is owned, does not  expect the blond woman to be as smart as Ford when they meet. He wipes Billy’s debt and gets her involved in a short con game which is the beginning of the long one.

Ford is not convinced that she cured  Billy even though he thinks otherwise after all his debt has been wiped. However House of Games’ new target is  now the rich author  who is curiously in the confidence game  for her next book.

Beautifully performed  play starts thrilling and keeps audiences on the edge of their seats at this point. Twists within the twist take all the attention to the plot and make audiences forget about the characters for a while.

Attractive con man Mike discovers blond career  woman’s weak sides and has sexual relationship with her. One thing Mike forgets is that as a psychiatrist Margaret Ford  knows   people’s deep level of subconscious. She knows how to play the confidence game and  is not as weak as she seems which she proves perfectly in the end of the con game. After all that sex, murder, lies, Ford wins the game but it is not clear whether Billy is cured.

The funny,tense and smartly factual  play   also has some  weak sides which   sometimes  undermines audiences’ intelligence and  leaves one question in the minds that “What drives Ford to go that far to write a book?” Curiosity, boredom or money or all?Or  is she  a compulsive writer?

Award  winning  director  Lindsay Posner  is not  less  smart  than Ford  in the House of  Game.The stage creatively designed by Peter McKintosh. Django Bates’ live music on the second  level of the stage and Paul Pyant’s spiritual lighting  take audiences into the play during one hour and 40 minutes.

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Comments
  1. I really liked the story.

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