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A captivating theatrical delight!

The Card

Story by Arnold Bennett

Adapted by Deb McAndrew

Directed by Conrad Nelson

Review by David Bithell

Gareth Cassidy as Denry Machin. Photo by Mark Douet

As a devoted theater go’er, I had the pleasure of attending the production of "The Card" at the New Vic Theatre. Adapted by Deb McAndrew and Conrad Nelson from the timeless novel by Arnold Bennett, this theatrical rendition successfully captured the spirit and essence of the original story, leaving the audience enthralled and entertained throughout the performance.

Set in the bustling streets of Edwardian England, "The Card" tells the tale of Denry Machin, a young man determined to rise above his humble beginnings and make his mark on the world. The play brilliantly explores Denry's unyielding ambition, relentless charm, and cunning ways as he navigates the intricacies of social class, love, and success.

The New Vic Theatre proved to be the perfect intimate setting for this production, that effortlessly transported the audience back in time. The set design and arrangement was nothing short of impressive, seamlessly transitioning from lavish ballrooms to modest parlors, and even bustling streets, providing a visually captivating backdrop for the unfolding drama.

The cast delivered exceptional performances, bringing each character to life with depth and nuance. The actor portraying Denry Machin (Gareth Cassidy) masterfully captured his charismatic persona, effortlessly weaving between humor, vulnerability, and determination. The chemistry between the actors was palpable, enhancing the dynamics of the relationships on stage and drawing the audience deeper into the unfolding narrative.

One of the highlights of the production was the impeccable pacing and seamless transitions between scenes. The story flowed effortlessly, allowing the audience to remain engaged and invested in Denry's journey from start to finish. The clever incorporation of period-specific music and choreography added an extra layer of authenticity, further enhancing the overall experience.

"The Card" at the New Vic Theatre ultimately succeeded in capturing the essence of Arnold Bennett's timeless story. It offered a riveting and enchanting experience, blending humor, drama, and social commentary in a seamless manner. The exceptional performances, exquisite set design, and the overall attention to detail created a truly immersive and memorable evening of theater.

I would highly recommend "The Card" to anyone seeking a thought-provoking and captivating theater experience. The New Vic Theatre has yet again proven its commitment to delivering quality productions that resonate with audiences. Prepare to be transported to an era of charm, ambition, and the universal pursuit of success as you witness Denry Machin's extraordinary journey unfold before your eyes.

The Card is at The New Vic, Newcastle under Lyme until Saturday 10th June.

For tickets call the box office on 01782 717962 or by visiting

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