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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

Love abridged: Uncle Vanya @Thehopetheatre

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Production company Tales Retold , which aims to take a new look at old classics distils the essence and passion of Chekhov's Uncle Vanya into a brisk 90-minute observation on family dysfunctions. And the disputes for money, love and survival in the Russian countryside with too much sun and vodka at hand don't seem too foreign to similar skirmishes nowadays either. It's currently playing at the Hope Theatre . Professor Serebryakov (Rory McCallum) and his young and beautiful second wife Yelena (Esme Mahoney) have come to the country estate run by Uncle Vanya (Adrian Wheeler) and his plain daughter from his first marriage, Sonya (Cassandra Hodges). Their arrival has upset the delicate balance of life at the property with their late nights and random walks. But Uncle Vanya is regretting his life, particularly since he had met Yelena ten years before and never asked her to marry her. And he doesn't think much of the professor. There's a doctor, Astrov (DK Ugonna) who