A Man Walks Into a Bar

Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland

13/10/2009 - 17/10/2009

Production Details

A man and a woman duel and drink, a tooth is lost a dog is kicked.

Bedroom Window productions are a new Production team consisting of professional actors Ryan O’Kane (Qantas award: Best Actor) and Jodie Hillock (Chapman Tripp Award: Best Female Newcomer). After a hiatus of solo success, Ryan and Jodie have the opportunity of coming together again for a second season of this successful play.  

A Man Walks into a Bar is written by acclaimed New Zealand playwright and fiction writer, David Geary. Geary’s plays have been widely performed and he has received several awards for his work. His plays are described as being ‘characterised by their physicality, their mordant humour and their critique of entrenched Kiwi mythologies’.

This production has a short season of 5 performances and takes place in October at the popular Basement Theatre which is situated in Lower Grey’s Ave, Auckland CBD.

A Man Walks Into a Bar by David Geary
Basement Theatre Bar
Tuesday, 13 October 2009 – Saturday, 17 October 2009
Booking line: 09 520 3515.
Door sales available from 7pm at The Basement Box Office
Tickets $10.

Spot prizes from The Mill and Glengarry Wines every night. 

Starring Ryan O'Kane and Jodie Hillock

Gags used to create dada-esque portrait of two lives

Review by Nik Smythe 16th Oct 2009

A Man Walks Into a Bar is set and staged in a bar, the one in foyer of the Basement theatre.  As the fresh-faced young man who walks in, Ryan O’Kane has actually been here all along, working the box office.  There’s an attractive young woman too, played by Jodie Hillock, working behind the bar. 

And then what happens?  That’s a tricky question to answer, narrative-wise.  For an awkwardly uncertain non-opening, the man whose name is alleged to be Cosmo but whom prefers to be just ‘the man’ sits furtively grinning as he looks round the table-seated crowd with an air of expectation. 

The woman sits across from him at their small beverage-covered table, giggling uncontrollably at first as the man announces the title. The duo launches into a rapid-fire exchange of variations on that most classic of joke conventions, certainly in the top five somewhere along with light bulb changing, road crossing, crossbreeding and blondes. 

The repetitious motif has a poetic rhythm to it, as when a number of outlandish cracks are post-scripted with the wise axiom ‘there’s just no picking them’. With some more elaborate story-driven setups and among the rapid-fire one liners, many clues and details regarding just what the heck is actually going on here are supplied as the pair antagonistically talk over one another, stealing punchlines and generally deriding each other.

It’s clear is that these two have known each other for a long time, spent a good deal of that time drinking to excess, and appear to be attempting to utilise the comic format to somehow put their tumultuous and estranged relationship into perspective.  For themselves that is – even though we’re acknowledged and frequently addressed directly, they are mostly alone together in their private world upon which we’re eavesdropping.

Excellently performed in a very natural style, as though we’re just indulging a couple of exhibitionists like many one may encounter on a night out, there is still a manifestly absurdist quality to David Geary’s script.  It also brings local classic two-hander Skin Tight to mind, trading a classic rural poem for a clichéd humorous formula to create an altogether more dada-esque portrait of two lives spent together.

To summarise: A man walks into a bar and spends an hour ranting with a woman, to the frequent mirth and occasional provoked thought of a crowd of appreciative paying onlookers. Sheepish apologies to the company for getting the opening date wrong. Only 36 seats for two more nights folks – and for just ten bucks it’s a total gift!
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