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The Ching Room/The Moria Monologues (Tour - Manchester)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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Hack poet Rory (Colin McCredie) has his masculinity restored by Darren (Martin McCormick) a pusher with an evangelical vocabulary and an attitude to match. Director Cheryl Martin creates a hyper-real atmosphere for The Ching Room that reflects Alan Bissett’s deliberately elaborate prose. She fails, however, to exploit the darker aspects of the play apparent in McCormick’s seductive Darren as he makes his Faustian offer.

Director Sacha Kyle ensures that the Moira Monologues does not slide into a stand-up routine. She makes no attempt to feminise Moira  -played by author Bissett who does not wear drag and retains male mannerisms - so that she becomes an everyperson. This is the first time Bissett’s plays have been produced outside Scotland and you have to adjust to the rhythm of Moira’s thick dialect to fully enjoy the show. Bissett does not simply create a splendid comic character. There is a complexity to Moira. We can sympathise with the loss she has experienced but fear how she needs to fill the emptiness in her life with conflict.  

Although a bit longer than strictly necessary this is a terrific double bill and makes you hope that Bissett brings more of his work south of the border.

- Dave Cunningham


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