The Ching Room ***

Alan Bissett’s The Ching Room is a modern ‘wrong place, wrong time’ story set in a male toilet cubicle at a club on Sauchiehall Street.  Similar to Edward Albee’s The Zoo Story, it is about two men whose territorial demands lead to self-discovery and cathartic release.


Bissett’s script is a curious one.  It starts rather uncomfortably.  There seems only so much one can do with two characters when one is desperate to use the loo and the other won’t permit him.  But once the initial set-up concludes and the men actually start communicating with each other, the piece grows intriguing.  It manages to be rather creative with some fairly funny moments and an ambiguous ending that hints at darker things to come.


The less one knows about the characters the better, because the crux of the play is discovering who these two men are, what they are doing at the location and how they will react to one another’s disclosures.  Colin McCredie plays meekish Rory while Andy Clark plays domineering Darren.  Both are excellent with their characters and have a good rapport, making a scenario that seems implausible utterly believable.


In approaching the piece, one should be warned of the rather colourful language which may upset those with ‘sensitive’ ears, and as the opening moments of the play tend to have rather descriptive passages of toilet habits, one may also want to make sure they have finished eating prior to the start.


That aside, The Ching Room is a rather surprising short play.  It is an intriguing character study and has some humorous and interesting moments of dialogue, even if it is delivered in a dark hue of blue.


*Originally published at Onstage Scotland.


On until March 21 at Oran Mor, then transferring to the Traverse from March 24-28.


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