Review by: John Girhiny
Eddie Versace is waiting in a hotel room in a casino desperately trying to raise the money to pay off a gambling debt. He has to face the demons from his past while trying to convince his father and ex-wife to get him the money he needs.
Val, Eddie’s ex wife, is cool to his need. She agrees with Eddie that when he won things were great but, she adds, when losing he just stared and glared. Val speaks eloquently about her new husband and his glorious attractions. They all boil down to having the money to pay for everyday needs. Her final assault on Eddie comes with her saying “ I never really was in love with you, I was in love with helping you. This is followed by a humorous bit on Cameron, the grandson.
Enter Eddie’s father and he is told that Eddie’s problems all stem from Val. Saying anything more will give away too much. Just one word – despicable – can be used to qualify Eddie’s behaviour for much of the show. According to Eddie gambling is a sickness only when you lose. If you win it is okay.
What is a Riverman of the title? Will Eddie be a victim for the riverman? Will he find the money he owes? How will this impact his family – father, ex-wife, brother, son? Will Eddie overcome his addiction?
For the answer to some of these questions you will have to go to HTI and see the production.
Listen to the lines of the “enforcer” as she talks about the attractions of gambling as well.
Betting on the Riverman is a well written, well acted and well directed drama which provides some insights into what an addict is capable of doing and saying. Some would say it is very relevant today given the ongoing discussions about casinos.