City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Review: The Ching Room by Alan Bissett

By Irene Brown - Posted on 24 March 2009

Show Details
Traverse Theatre
Traverse Theatre and Òran Mór
Gavin Harding (Production Manager ), Cheryl Martin (Director), Louise Buckton, Claire Elliott, Renny Robertson, Sarah Scarlett, Mark Sodergren, Andrew Steel (Production (Traverse) ), Patrick and Rita McGurn (design), Susannah Armitage (Trainee Producer Òran Mór), David MacLennan (Producer Òran Mór)
Colin McCreadie (Rory), Andy Clark (Darren)
Running time: 

A Glasgow night club's toilet cubicle (there does appear to be just the one) with its gleaming black lavatory is the unusual setting for the power games played by Darren, the cubicle's very own Sultan of Ching, with Rory the unfulfilled poet who has turned to being a wedding poet as a living.

Rory, having left his young girlfriend and her pals, desperate to use the lavatory, finds Darren seated on the cistern like a wicked sprite dressed as a bouncer.

What follows is a clever manipulation by the devilish Darren. His language shifts easily from articulate awareness of the cosmos and astute sensitivity to social norms, to the abusive and violent speak of the ruthless, then back to calculated fine manners.

He wins Rory over by tuning in to his compromised ambition of being a recognised poet but only succeeds in making him a Rapper in a Crapper.

The characters shift from being poles apart not only in looks, class and outlook to bonding after sharing their intense experience. The audience has to decide if it is the white powder in Robert Frost's poem Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, recited by Rory, or the other white "lines of poetry" in the play that shifted the relationship between the men.

The play was supposed to be in Sauchiehall Street so was refreshing to hear a non Glaswegian convincingly play a hard man and crash the stereotype.