The setup is a man-date between two socially awkward gents. They begin in undies, change into clothes and the show – well, play – takes place around a small two person table as they make chit-chat and wait for their meal.

It’s obvious from early on that David Quirk and Benn Bennett haven’t thought much further ahead than that.

Apparently they went on dozens of real-life man-dates to help prepare for their on stage tete a tete, which, if true, and going by the results on display, would have generated some of the worst dinner table conversation since humankind developed the power of speech.

In their own lackadaisical way, the two admirably unruffled performers keep throwing around ingredients to see what sticks.

Not much does. The three or so musical numbers generate some stray chuckles and feel exactly like what they are: tacked on grabs for amusement neither here nor there.

Man-Date lacks structure and coherency but the deathblow is a lack of laughs. There’s not much smart or funny about putting lipstick on, throwing a quarter of a glass of water at your co-star’s face or breaking into flat and derivative songs to fill the time.

Quirk and Bennett have presence and it’s not hard to imagine them taking flight in a better, sharper production. Their 2012 offering is well below average, strewn with stilted dialogue and moments of pregnant silence in which the audience are supposed to laugh at the awkwardness of it all.

It’s awkward, yes, but not for the right reasons.

David Quirk and Benn Bennett in Man-Date is on Tuesday to Saturday at 9:45pm and Sundays at 8:45pm from March 29 – April 22 at Melbourne Town Hall.

Luke Buckmaster also reviews films on Crikey film blog Cinetology.

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