Central Otago Man

Firestation Theatre, Mosgiel

08/06/2017 - 16/06/2017

Production Details

Finding a captive audience in the clients he has temporarily trussed up on his bridge, Tryfen Gribilco sounds off on anything and everything without being the least bit concerned who he might be offending, his philosophy being ‘everyone’s entitled to my opinion’.

Marty, being a conscientious adventure tourism practitioner, is torn between his genuine affection for his slap-happy and over-opinionated boss, and his need to keep the clients safe and happy. He is constantly concerned that due to Tryfen’s propensity for dialogue (and more often monologue) with the clients, they are not getting through as many jumps as they should, and their boss KJ might not be pleased. When Tryfen tells Marty that KJ is turning up later that day to give him a ‘performance evaluation’, Marty is doubly concerned.

Their clients for the day include an urban Australian senator and his daughter, an uptight German UN delegate and her assistant. By the time Tryfen has schooled them all on life in general and the finer points of global geopolitics, Marty is becoming extremely agitated about his job security.

But confirmed bachelor Tryfen is about to get a lesson of his own when Dutch backpacker Heidi turns up with a world view he can’t argue with because he is completely smitten with her. And in the midst of all the chaos, KJ turns up.

Thursday 8 June – Friday 16 June: 7:30pm. Matinee Sunday 11 June: 2pm. No show Monday 12 June.
Firestation Theatre, Mosgiel

Tickets: $18 and $16 for members and block bookings of 10 or more.
To book: call, text 027 589 3088 or email firestationtheatre@gmail.com.

Eftpos and credit cards accepted.


Tryfen Gribilco - Rob Monzari

Marty Wellings - Zac Henry 

Heidi Caneln - Joanna Bain 

Robert Pilditch - Keith Richardson

Amanda Pilditch - Jenny Nicoll

Marianne Rygstyg - Helen Gudsell 

Pierre Malaise - David Thomson 

Theatre ,

Needs tightened pace and an energy boost

Review by Kimberley Buchan 15th Jun 2017

The Firestation Theatre’s winter offering is Central Otago Man by Justin Eade. The Man in question is Tryfen Gribilco, an opinionated bungy jump manager. He has a curious approach to business in that he discourages customers and seems to only want to serve a niche market of international politicians. Once the senators and the UN delegates of the world arrive ready to throw themselves off a bridge, Tryfen seems less keen in the business at hand and more interested in operating as a sort of rustic relationship counsellor. His side kick Marty is the one doing all the work and holding the business together while trying to set up his boss with every female he talks to.

Tryfen Gribilco is played by Rob Monzari who is trying to create “an unconstructed man, perfectly untouched by the ravages of political correctness.” He does this through holding his customers as a captive audience in the bungy harness while pontificating at them under the impression that “everyone’s entitled to my opinion.”

Playwright Justin Eade makes an attempt at political commentary through his mouthpiece of Tryfen. It is hard to cover so many complex social issues with any real analysis when each is only covered in a couple of lines. Tryfen’s thoroughly exasperated offsider, Marty Wellings, is played by young up and coming talent Zac Henry. I look forward to seeing him develop further on stage in the future.

Their first customers are Robert Pilditch and Amanda his daughter, played by Keith Richardson and Jenny Nicoll. Richardson creates a righteous politician who dominates his daughter until the intervention of Tryfen. The next set of customers are Mariane Rystyg and Pierre Malisse, the bristly German UN delegate and her French assistant. Helen Gudsell attempts to bring out the indignation of Mariane but falters as she does with her lines. David Thomson’s characterisation of Pierre however, stands out and brings out some of the farcical elements of the script. Joanna Bain rounds out the cast as the Dutch hitch hiker Heidi Caneln and Tryfen’s love interest.

For a show about the adrenaline rush of bungy jumping it is surprisingly static. Whenever I have been to a certain bridge near Queenstown it is always accompanied by an atmosphere of tension and a backdrop of screams. The jumpers in this case are remarkably silent.

Tightening the pace of the cues and an energy boost would allow the play to more fully capitalise on director David Thomson’s farcical vision. He has brought together a good crew. Hans Van Leeuwen has some lovely lighting effects and Tim Pettengell has built structures that shape the Firestation stage in a more interesting way than I have seen before.  

It is great to see a community theatre like the Firestation promoting New Zealand playwrights like Eade. They are also very supportive of young actors and reinforce their commitment in this area by regularly having teenagers on their committee. If you would like to support an institution with such forward thinking values, Central Otago Man is on until Friday. 


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Tough, blokeish facade cracks

Review by Emer Lyons 15th Jun 2017

Central Otago Man is a play about Otago born and bred Tryfen Gribilco, who runs a high-end bungy-jumping business with the assistance of the rule-abiding Marty Wellings.

Tryfen’s claim early in the first scene of the Taieri Dramatic Society production that “everyone is entitled to my opinion” lays the groundwork for the dogmatic, un-PC preaching that ensues. [More


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