Black and White Tea Room – Counsellor
- Flora Gosling
- 21 August 2019
A poorly-executed thriller that wastes its intriguing premise
In this psychological drama, a cop-turned-counsellor (Nicholas Collett) is visited by mysterious client (Patrick Miller). He has a bone to pick with this counsellor, and has come to reap his revenge.
But what exactly is that revenge? What is it he wants? After an hour, it is still a mystery. The slow opening, which takes over twenty minutes before anything is said that advances the plot, makes way for a series of illogical conveniences, character motivations, and plot points.
Even when making allowances for translation difficulties from the Korean script, this play is a mess. Ideas that are shocking and dark are wasted on the thinly-written characters and bland, unrealistic dialogue. Both Miller and Collett give clumsy performances, though they cannot be blamed too much given they had so little to work with.
Whatever symbolism Hyun Suk had envisioned with the black and white theme never goes beyond the character's surnames. Some of the best thrillers are built around claustrophobic power play, but the lack of tension in The Black and White Tea Room squanders any potential it had.
Assembly Rooms, until 25 Aug, 6.20pm, £11–£14.