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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

Streaming Through: Little Wars (A reading)

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Is it week six or seven in this national lockdown? Lockdowns have been a chance to go on long walks through central London. It's fascinating to go through the West End and see theatres advertising shows that would have been there for a fraction of the time they’ve now been. Jennifer Saunders mugging it in Blythe Spirit comes to mind. It's as if time has stopped and it's still March 2020. But going on long walks has led to missing some online theatrical events. And so it's great to see that Little Wars has returned for another two weeks on Stream Theatre.  Set in the French Alps at the home of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas (her lover). They're hosting a party that also happens to be on the evening of the German invasion. It's a fantasy party that imagines the guests being Agatha Christie, Lillian Hellman and Dorothy Parker. There's another mysterious guest who goes by the name of Mary. As the night wears on and the drink continues to flow, sparring abou

Attracting attention: Amour @charingcrossthr

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Amour is about the brief charming life of an ordinary man who discovers he can walk through walls in 1950s Paris. With music by Michael Legrand, it’s a whimsical fantasy that it’s hard to dislike. As the piece says, “There’s magic in the air” even if the lyrics translated into English bring the piece crashing back to reality. It’s having its UK professional premiere at Charing Cross Theatre . At the centre of the piece is an earnest young man Dusoleil (Gary Tushaw), who lives alone in a flat in Montmartre, dreaming about his neighbour Isabelle (Anna O’Byrne), who is married. He’s a hard worker in the civil service who gets his work done so he can write a letter to his dear mother. But one day during a power outage he discovers he can walk through walls. So he decides to put his new talents to good use to become a latter-day Robin Hood, winning the hearts of the locals and Isabelle. The lyrics become predictable that it’s tempting to play a guessing game. You just know when the l

Victims of circumstance: Mother Courage And Her Children @swkplay

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War is hell. War is a bitch. But everyone has to scrape by and make a living. Tony Kushner's translation of Mother Courage And Her Children was given an epic staging at the National Theatre in 2009. Here in the more intimate surroundings of Southwark Playhouse , there's less spectacle. But it's still worth a look. Particularly if you're sitting on the right side of the traverse. Brecht's piece should make you feel uncomfortable with sharp observations about capitalism, war and religion. This production just makes you feel uncomfortable. If you're sitting on the wrong side you will have to make do with either stretching your neck or imaging what's going on behind you.