Review by Ryan Saxby Hill
50mins (approx) / Comedy, Drama, Solo, Storytelling / Mature
A Mind Full of Dopamine was a solid one man show, by Rory Ledbetter, looking at a personal exploration of gambling addiction. The show was well-acted with great charm. The story arc – from finding fun in poker at a young age, to a post-MFA discovery of L.A.’s casinos and poker rooms, to hitting rock bottom and losing rent money – was set up nicely.
I found the building tension in the poker games themselves to be one the best parts of the show. I’m not really a gambler, but I was brought along through the excitement of winning hands and the sudden let-down of “pocket aces” that don’t deliver.
Rory Ledbetter is a great story-teller, but I did find that the play a bit preachy. The show’s message and tone were obvious and I think he could have given the audience more credit to get to the conclusion that “gambling addictions are bad” without turning his show into a PSA.
The references to movies and other pop culture inserted into the show also seemed a bit forced. I would have preferred Ledbetter just tell me a great story and rely less on the gimmicks. The audience did seem to find this stuff funny, so I may be alone there.
Overall, it’s a solid performance (with a few caveats).
A Mind Full of Dopamine by Rory Ledbetter is playing at Venue 2 – Arts Court Library (2 Daly Avenue) on Saturday June 21 at 9:30pm, Sunday June 22 at 2:30pm, Thursday June 26 at 7:30pm, Friday June 27 at 11:00pm and Sunday June 29 at 5:00pm. Tickets are $10.