In Z Theatre Company’s version of the next world, life after death is all admin and appraisals. Forget the great judgement; this is what the afterlife might look like if it was outsourced to a dingy office in Swindon, its souls entrusted to petty middle managers.
God’s Waiting Room follows one such soul through the bureaucracy of eternity, in and out of meetings with God and the devil. After an untimely death, cheating Jason is forced to face up to his adulterous ways, waiting to find out if it’ll be the door above or the door below.
It’s all played for purposeless laughs, never really taking aim at anything with its feeble satirising of Christianity. References are crowbarred in for the sake of cheap guffaws, while off-colour gags about Hitler and Islam fail to justify their inclusion. And when it gets briefly serious, with a forced lecture about tolerance, it feels clumsy and unearned.
More problematically, there’s a thoughtless undercurrent of casual sexism, completely at odds with the scruffy deity’s one sacred commandment: “don’t be a bastard”. The devil is—of course—all tight red dress, heels and glittering horns, played somewhere between beckoning temptress and vengeful woman wronged. If it’s meant to be ironic, it does a poor job of it.
Then there’s Jason. He’s a default dickhead, his sins depressingly generic. If we can see anyone fighting for their fate, why him? For a play supposedly about judgement, God’s Waiting Room offers little in the way of moral conundrums.