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Bear with me: Stitches @TheHopeTheatre

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What if your teddy bear could talk? My ten-year-old self would think that to be excellent. My more recent self would think it was a high-concept buddy movie with Mark Wahlberg. But in Stictches, Jonathan Blakeley's monologue, which he has written and performed, traces the life of his beloved Chloe, from when she was first given to him by her grandmother, wrapped with a red ribbon. It becomes a story not just about a cute bear (or maybe that should be rough, shaggy-looking bear given the performer’s appearance) observing life but an exploration of life and all of its stages. It's currently playing at the Hope Theatre .  The bear is not warm and fuzzy; he is a bit of a character and tough-talking, but also a bit anxious about being accepted and then discarded as nothing. But he is there to bear witness as she navigates the complicated facets of growing up and having a life. Ultimately, the bear has to deal with being consigned to a box with her other memories until circumstances

Cinders and beer: Cinderella: A Wicked Mother of a Night Out #PubCinderella

“Aren’t you worried you’re going to get picked on by the cast since you’re here on your own?” Asked a lady at the bar before catching Not Too Tame’s Cinderella: A Wicked Mother of a Night Out! No fear I thought... It’s all part of my quest to continue to seek out strange and unusual theatre. I wasn’t disappointed.

This is a site specific production set in a pub near you for the Christmas holidays. It’s unique and worth checking out for people looking for something different to do this Christmas.

Just like Hot Gay Time Machine at Trafalgar Studios, it’s best to go in a group. And don’t look too unique, fabulous or like a hipster as the cast are likely to single you out.

Written by Luke Barnes, the show combines karaoke standards with some panto traditions and beer. The end result is a pretty funny and original interpretation of the Cinderella story.

Cinderalla’s dad has died and she’s left working in his pub with her stepmother and two step sisters. A geezer called Prince comes by looking for the girl who took his grandmother’s slippers.

Along the way there’s a man in a dirty dog suit who barks “SEX!”, a bloke in dress and lot of karaoke.

What it lacks in production values it makes up with enthusiasm, originality and humour. And for those interested in that sort of thing, the karaoke continues after the show.

Production Company Not Too Tame aim to create works that target first time theatre goers. But they’ve also come up with a winning formula here for pop-up theatre.

Directed by Jimmy Fairhurst, Cinderella: A Wicked Mother of a Night Out! continues at Yates Reading on 16 December and the Welcome Inn, Ordsall on 18-22 December.

⭐️⭐️⭐️


Photos by Chris Webb

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