Writer: Hugh McCann Director: Tom Nicholas Reviewer: Christy Ku
Ensuite is Hugh McCann’s debut play, a coming of age story about his brief time at university as he tries and ultimately fails to become his ideal of an ‘Art Student’.
It’s immensely funny with an edge of the surreal to it. The set has about 26 swimming noodles suspended from the ceiling, through which McCann weaves in and out to tell his story. He begins the play with a relatable awkward enthusiasm for university life, leading the audience on his drug-filled journey through art lectures, bizarre parties with Björk and hiding in his ensuite bathroom smoking until he drops out.
The play has a great script, the writing cleverly layers humour (quite frequently crude) and satire as he mocks everything; the art college, the art world’s atmosphere of pretentiousness and, ultimately, himself. The storytelling is energetically captivating, with McCann leaping in and out of characters, from professors to a hallucination of an ancient talking tree. Although, there is a scene where he is late for his lecture and runs in slow motion through the swimming noodles; it’s a little drawn out and needed more variety of movements to sustain interest.
Ensuite is a show for anyone who has ever felt disenchanted with their degree or their role in the artistic world. Starting university in a new city full of strangers offers a blank canvas for students to become who they want to be – or rather who they think they want to be. While McCann fails to be an ‘Art Student’ and his university life falls apart (arguably it was never together in the first place), it’s an adventure.
Self-satirising without self-pitying, McCann is a very amiable performer and delivers a hilarious show every twenty-something student should see.