Production photography by Clare Hawley.

David Williamson’s latest play, ODD MAN OUT, playing at The Ensemble Theatre, explores a relationship that is very different from anything he’s ever written before.

Ryan sees Alice on a bus and is instantly taken by her smile.  He relentlessly pursues her until she agrees to have dinner with him.

Ryan is charming and showers Alice with attention, affection, expensive restaurants and classical concerts.  She can’t resist his eccentric, intelligent mind and sexual prowess, so, although things are moving too fast for her, she agrees to get married.

Alice becomes disturbed at Ryan’s outbursts with her family and friends and his inability to cope with social skills and decipher emotions.  She soon realises that he has Asperger’s Syndrome.  As Ryan does not want to lose her, he agrees to be “rescued” by his wife, who uses ‘colour coded’ emotional therapy and signals him to change his conversation in social situations, with resulting clever moments.

There is humour and pathos in Williamson’s writing.  Justin Stewart Cotta is brilliant and engaging as Ryan and gives a stand out performance.  Lisa Gormley as Alice, juggles her commentary to the audience and her scenes with her friends and family with agility and humour, occasionally underplaying the larger emotional moments that need to match her husband’s.

Gael Ballantyne as both mothers, Emily and Polly, is very good, Rachel Gordon as Alice’s girlfriend, Carla, adds humour and charm to her role.  Bill Young as Gary and Police Officer, is a strong, commanding presence on stage and Matt Minto, as Evan and Neville, is calm and confident.

Director Mark Kilmurry, has, as usual, done a great job with the direction, especially with Cotta’s characterisation and powerful staging.

Anna Gardiner has created an original, clever set design.  The back wall has a brain like colour pattern which moves in and out of light.  Also refreshing is the lighting of Christopher Page and the sound design, especially the clicking sounds when Alice signals Ryan, by Alistair Wallace.

ODD MAN OUT is a play worth seeing for its examination of love and commitment and for raising our awareness of the debilitating Asperger’s Syndrome, and how it impacts sufferers and their partners in relationships.

Mark Kilmurry’s production of ODD MAN OUT is playing the Ensemble Theatre until Saturday 18th March, 2017.