FRINGE REVIEW – Devil in the Deck, Zoo Pleasance


6 – 15 Aug 2250 (2350) @ Zoo Pleasance

By Danielle Farrow

“Gamesmanship is the currency of human nature” announces Paul Nathan’s creation, Jack Swindle (pronounced ‘Swindell’, of course), and gamesmanship, money and human nature make up this interesting show, incorporating cards, story-telling and money-making tricks.
What Nathan can do with cards is incredibly impressive – though he demonstrates one process, the very demonstration is equally as bewildering and awe-inspiring as the trick itself. The card elements are beats within the story of Swindle – his relations with cards, with hustling, with his mother and his lover – and connect to other anecdotes related in a manner sometimes very southern-laconic, other times drivingly passionate.
There was also a certain meandering style in the story-telling that took more time than seemed fitting, and the throughline was a rather basic plot, but Mr Nathan is engaging, highly skilled with the cards, and very ably supported by musician John Anaya, with whom he has a strong performance rapport. In fact, more from Mr Anaya would have been appreciated, his humour and his voice being worthy of greater showtime.
Devil in the Deck is a game of southern style and hospitality, of trickery and a few human truths, and it is one worth watching at least – even if joining in may prove a little risky in the ol’ currency department.

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