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The Expert at the Card Table


Directed by Neil Patrick Harris


San Francisco. Tuesday November 7, 1905. Milton Franklin Andrews, wanted on charges of murder, attempted murder, card-sharping and railroading , takes his own life.  Amongst the fine clothing, stacks of cash and playing cards in the dingy boarding house where his body was discovered, the police found a copy of The Expert at the Card Table, by S.W. Erdnase.


Generally regarded as the finest book on card table artifice and legerdemain ever written, The Expert has been studied by every serious exponent of card sleights for well over a century.  Guy shares some of its secrets with demonstrations of unfathomable conjuring and incomparable card control, whilst recounting the tragic story of Milton Andrews, the finest card mechanic of his day.

"This enigmatic tale is related in a soothing purr of anecdotal casualness. But don’t let Hollingworth’s low-key manner fool you — he may have the reassuring air of a gentlemanly British detective, but his narrative sleights-of-hand are as impressive as any of his card tricks, which routinely have audience members venting their awe.

"This intimate production, developed by Menier Chocolate Factory artistic director David Babani, is a pleasure to stumble upon. Harris’ tonally impeccable staging, featuring occasional projections that are as fittingly subdued as illustrations in a turn-of-the-century book, provides an eclectically uncluttered backdrop for Hollingworth’s uncanny gifts to dazzle. In a universe that values excellence in modest packages, The Expert at the Card Table would become the summer’s theatrical sleeper."

Los Angeles Times,

July 18, 2011

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