A man walks into a bar
Reviewed at Treasury 1860 on 21 February 2019
Presented by Matt Hyde
Matthew Hyde’s tour de force of a performance of DC Moore’s play under the skilful direction of Jason Langley is funny, confrontational, energetic and oh so accurately brought to life in the bar at The Old Treasury Building. Perfect surroundings for our protagonist’s alcohol-fuelled descent into a night of truth, degenerating gradually into that place we all fear, the moment of truth that we regret as it falls from our lips. Well, most of us!
Anyone who has ever suffered employment with a government agency should be forced to view this play as part of their induction into the Public Service (or the Civil Service as it is known in the UK). Dave is given an opportunity to share with us the ups and downs and the perils of employment in a U.K. government department and how one fatal night of partying with your co-workers can change everything about your existence. It’s The Office on steroids!
Fuelled by alcohol, and a desperate need to escape the mundane, we are introduced to a workplace peopled by ineptitude and run on the past failures of the managers we all know should not be running the department. It is a wry picture that Hyde shows us. We can’t help laughing at it as we wince. The characters are all familiar as they are skilfully drawn and expertly dissected by the world Hyde brings to life for us. His initial mild-mannered delivery covers the real honest-truth that he delivers.
Another drink was ordered from the silent bar staff with only a mild look of disapproval on her face, then we are given another character assassination as Dave’s Boss, Ben, is brought to life before our very eyes. I immediately saw a thin-lipped young man aging too soon in a pin-striped suit that had seen better days. His inability seemed to be only overshadowed by his stupidity as he came to life so fluidly. Hyde’s unique ability to draw such clear pictures with his words made this piece a joy to be immersed in. From the moment Hyde walked into the bar unannounced, bought himself a drink and looked like he was part of the audience, I could see how this chameleon of an actor could transform himself instantly to suit his circumstances.
After our introduction to the workplace the play takes us on a journey through a night of abuse both of others and himself as Dave, tongue loosened by alcohol, becomes completely honest at the office do. The gradual effect of alcohol on Dave as he suffers a night out with his co-workers allows Hyde to show how skilled an actor he is as he slowly becomes the victim of his alcohol fuelled night and the journey he brings to life as he walks across London to try to undo a massive, confronting, moment of truth. The characters and situations he encounters as his journey through the familiar night streets progresses and the booze takes hold are an expert piece of acting and storytelling. The journey across London is vivid and exciting, the situations bizarre and moving, and the wonderful place we are left hanging in the end is beautifully crafted.
This year’s Fringe has some excellent plays to enjoy and this is one of them. It really gives you a roller coaster experience of spinning out of control and its consequences. I laughed, I cried, I identified! I really enjoyed myself. Get along before it sells out.
Reviewed by Adrian Barnes
Venue: Bar at Treasury 1860, 144 King William St, Adelaide, SA, 5000
Season: 21st February – 3rd March
Duration: 45 minutes
Tickets: $ FP $25 Conc $20 Bank SA Customer $$19.50 Bank SA Support Act $10 Pass Holder Discount $20