Joe's NYC Bar

Interactive theatre is a tricky beast. Too often the interactive element revolves around tokenistic nods to the audiences, or at other times it's difficult to lose yourself in the drama that’s unfolding as it’s painfully obvious you're watching actors. Joe’s NYC Bar has found the perfect middle ground and it’s utterly engrossing.

If I were you, I’d take myself to Joe’s, get a brew and soak in the atmosphere.

Its genius lies in its setting: a seedy bar in The Big Apple. It’s familiar enough to be comfortable but exotic enough to lend an air of excitement. Imagine if Bukowski had written an episode of Cheers. The characters are pure Americana and feel like they've come straight out of a Paul Auster novel and feel familiar to every local bar in the world. There’s the idiot you love to hate, the conspiracy theorist, the surly but lovable bartender, and the uncannily attractive barmaid with her love life on the rocks. In a sort of weird Brechtian turn, somehow these characters feel more real than the ones you meet in life. The actors inhabit their parts so well that it starts to become difficult to separate reality from the fantasy.

There is no plot: it’s just people sharing jokes, telling stories and coming to personal realisations. It’s the sort of show that you’ll get more out, the more you put in. Sporadically the audience are invited to take the floor (if they are not naturally doing it themselves) and it’s beautiful to see normal people realise that they are capable of being more thought provoking than they might have believed.

If I were you, I’d take myself to Joe’s, get a brew and soak in the atmosphere.

Reviews by James W. Woe

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Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

'3D theatre that will pull you in' (Orlando Sentinel). 'If you want to understand the promise of interactive theatre, take in... Joe's NYC Bar.' (Orlando Weekly). 'Artistically speaking, watching the actors is watching pros at the top of their game.' (Orlando Sentinel). 'Don't just see the show, be the show' (Orlando Weekly). Joe's is an interactive, improvisational, immersive theatre experience in which the audience is transported to a bar in Brooklyn, New York City. Live music!

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