Seeing the opening night of Odd Man Out at the Ensemble Theatre begged a lot of questions seeing this type of play, especially for my first time. We immediately started with a general setup: boy meets girl. Or girl meets boy, whichever you prefer. From the first three minutes of the play, getting introduced to the male lead in this play I uttered to myself the words ‘ODD. MAN. OUT.’
Ryan (played by Justin Stewart Cotta) sees 38-year-old Alice (Lisa Gormley) during a bus ride. He instantly falls in love. The plot starts off with a handy reminder of ‘what not to do or say on dates’, as Ryan reminds you of that weird outspoken brainiac who says what he thinks.
He’s weird but charming. Alice tries to convince her family and friends that he is a nice and charming man behind closed doors. But no one believes her.
David Williamson’s play has the makings of a clichéd rom-com: the destined meet up, the hopeless romanticism, the man of her dreams finally there in front of her. The plot, however then turns an unexpected dark twist. Odd Man Out explores the complex world of mental illness. It was quite subtle but effective, not distracting the audience from the main plotline. It exposes the reality and the struggles with maintaining relationships that make you want to ask yourself ‘Is it all worth it?’
The stage was small but intimate. Six permanent LED chairs light up differently for each scene depending on the mood and characters. The music perfectly captured the feel of the show. Did I mention the lighting? Exquisite.
Coming to this with zero expectations, I grew attached to the characters as the plot bloomed into a fun but entertaining obstacle they must overcome.
Odd Man Out captures the essence of a modern-day love story that make you want to believe in love at first sight again. But then again, one asks: What is love?
Kevin Rodrigueza is a 21-year-old theatre enthusiast and lover of food and beer. Follow his adventures at @kevinr___.