Black and White Tea Room – Counsellor

Cha Hyun Suk
Theatre Hooam, Korean Season presented by AtoBiz Ltd
Assembly Rooms
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A slow burn two-hander, Black and White Tea Room is a Korean psychological thriller with more the one twist.

The counsellor waits for his new client, frustrated by their lateness but filling the time with odd jobs, polishing his shoes and feeding his fish. He’s calm and relaxed but keen to get on with his day as it’s the anniversary of his wife’s death.

Eventually, his client arrives, wide-eyed, mistrusting and excitable, a cross between a wounded animal and a toddler. Their session begins and starts a chain of events that are consistently gripping and unexpected.

The pace is measured and neither actor is afraid to make use of a tense dramatic pause. This atmosphere of unease is aided by the slight delay in English subtitling so the audience are always on edge, unsure of exactly what’s happening—at a disadvantage, just like one of the characters.

To delve into spoilers would ruin the surprise of the carefully constructed script, but suffice to say these are two actors who commit completely to this tale of pride, confusion and retribution.

Amy Yorston