A HIGH BAR FOR THE REST OF FRINGE

Ben Ross

Staff Writer 

Imagine you’re at a party, deep in one of those awful, pointless discussions with some broseph whose gender politics haven’t changed since he started his Engineering undergrad at U of T. “Both sides play a part in gender-based violence,” he insists. “Not all men,” he whines. Don’t you wish you could just press play on some sort of instructional video and walk away?

Well now you can, thanks to Circle Circle’s A Man Walks into a Bar. Simply shell out the ten bucks for a ticket and one by one his arguments, excuses and general bullshittery will be systematically dismantled by Rachel Blair’s excellent script. And it’s highly entertaining to boot.

All The Woman (Rachel Blair) wants to do is tell a joke. The Man (Blue Bigwood-Mallin) thinks that’s great – he just has a couple of notes. As he attempts to control the joke, the play and her, an all-too-familiar pattern emerges.

Blair and Bigwood-Mallin fill the space skilfully and their chemistry translates into both convincing flirty patter and some truly tense moments when things take a dark turn.

The metatheatrical joke-within-a-play makes for a dynamic experience, especially when the actors pause, discuss and try out scenes in different ways. It’s irreverent, witty and a lot of fun.

It’s not just dude-bros who can benefit from seeing this play – these issues run deep and wide, and it’s a valuable reminder for all of us of the slippery reasoning that can, and does, lead to violence against women.

But still, bring the dude-bros. Just tell them it’s about drinking.

A Man Walks Into a Bar plays until July 11 at the Tarragon Theatre Extraspace as part of the Toronto Fringe Festival. For more information visit www.fringetoronto.com.