This is a perfectly lovely and completely misguided evening.
Perfectly lovely because Megan Riordan is an engaging actor with an astonishing story to tell. Misguided, because she is weighed down with baggage ï¿½ not the psychological kind. In Luck she is doing the equivalent of patting her head, rubbing her tummy, and hopping on one foot.
The theatre is set up like a nightclub with small tables. You may sit with strangers, as I did, and meet a couple of terrific strangers. Snacks are offered on the house, and drink orders are taken.
Riordan begins the show by passing out games of chance: cards, dice, and a small roulette wheel. Over the course of the evening she will ask each table to play and, depending on the outcome, she will expound on one of many topics ï¿½ all fascinating bits. This she does at top speed. In addition to this, between bouts of interacting with the audience, she is instructed by an offstage voice to Tell A Story, which she also does at top speed. The one time she slows down is when she moves to the back of the house to talk directly into the camera in a bit of sleight of hand that changes her appearance completely. She also performs two trance-like dances, shares her favorite snack with us, and conducts a raffle.
All of this Riordan performs without flinching. And we like her enough to sit through it and wait for her to stop flitting about like a trained circus animal and talk to us.
Riordan is the daughter of a man who literally wrote the book on gambling. Her childhood was so normal that she was halfway through her teens before she realized that, not only had he written about gambling, he was a gambler himself, a chancer. Like his father, and his fatherï¿½s father. Riordan has gambling in her blood, and with it comes the stories that need spinning and the games that need tackling.
Her father trained her to be part of the family team that went into casinos in Las Vegas. Disguises were required, as well as aliases, and behavior choreographed so that the house, which has rigged all the games with the exception of Blackjack, wonï¿½t catch on. If the house finds you out, you are barred from the premises, period. This puts a cramp in your pocketbook as well as a poke in your eye. A gambler without a game is a sorry piece of flesh.
On her wedding day, before she sweeps down the aisle, her uncle slips by and hands her an envelope. Before she can fold it into her bouquet her father, Max, offers to play her for it. It is a jarring reminder of her fractured life. ï¿½I am Kim. But I am also Megan. And Max is also Dad. Imagine a cocktail party where every guest is a schizophrenic, switching form one personality to the next with every gin and tonic. Welcome to my life.ï¿½
And that life, in the hands of this capable storyteller, is enough. Riordan should trust her Irish roots ï¿½ jettison the accoutrements and spin this fine, fine tale with a thread of her own making. Encumbered as she is in this production, she has little chance to shine.
"Though charmingly close to breaking even, she ultimately stacks the theatrical odds too high against herself. "