God's Waiting Room

Many religions insist that humanity was created in God’s image; others argue that, throughout history, the process has been the other way round. It’s certainly the latter case with University of Hull-based Z Theatre Company’s God’s Waiting Room: writer Matt Kennedy didn’t just get to play God at the keyboard; he plays the part on stage too – a weary, slovenly, stressed-out God who smokes too much and has relationship problems with his eternal teenager son Jesus (a convincingly wearisome Molly Robinson).

Performed with varying degrees of ability, God’s Waiting Room rather feels like it’s more fun for the cast and their mates in the audience than anyone else.

We first encounter Kennedy’s God, though, in the guise of a somewhat forward waiter in a restaurant, where self-centred Jason (Alex Clegg) is meeting his girlfriend Hannah (Natalie Ireland) – on whom he cheated, twice, with a stripper the previous evening while on a mate’s stag night. Initially, his macho posturing suggests that Jason has no regrets; but then he chokes on a slice of Hannah’s well-done steak and suddenly finds himself in the titular waiting room where the future of his soul will be determined – assuming he doesn’t opt to give his soul to the Devil, whose office is just on the other side of the corridor.

However, this show is nowhere near as serious as its Fringe programme listing suggest: the level of broad humour is epitomised in Hank (Matthew Adams, giving arguably the most subtle performance among the cast) who, after thousands of years’ sweeping of that purgatorial corridor, can’t even remember how he died – and yes, the large knife still in his back is about as subtle as this show gets.

Performed with varying degrees of ability, God’s Waiting Room rather feels like it’s more fun for the cast and their mates in the audience than anyone else. Yes, it’s momentarily funny to see the Devil (Emma Bishop) reincarnated as a stylish “lady in red”, but given that much of her scene with Beelzebub (Danielle Harris) is an exercise in listing demon names (alphabetically, from A to P), there’s no sense of threat or danger, making it difficult to care. The characters are one-note, and there’s little sense of what’s at stake. Meantime, attempts at some more “relevant” humour – Edinburgh’s trams, the UK’s Conservative Government, etc – simply fall flat.

Perhaps strangest of all, however, is when Kennedy as God suddenly breaks the fourth wall by addressing the audience directly. The point that God – well, Kennedy in his role as writer – makes is a good one, but it feels forced nonetheless, and more for his benefit than ours.

Reviews by Paul F Cockburn

Multiple Venues

Nests

★★★
Dundee Rep Theatre / Macrobert Arts Centre

The Yellow on the Broom

★★★
Underbelly, Bristo Square

Tom Neenan: It's Always Infinity

★★★★
Assembly George Square Studios

Police Cops in Space

★★★★★
Gilded Balloon Rose Theatre

Rik Carranza: Still a Fan

★★★★
Gilded Balloon Rose Theatre

Marmite

★★★★

Performances

Location

The Blurb

A man with dark secrets suddenly meets an untimely end and is suddenly forced to meet his maker: God and his arch nemesis the devil. Things aren’t what they seem as he is locked in a battle for the fate of his soul.