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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

On long runs and intervals: 90 minutes straight through

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When is too much of a good thing, too much? I love going out to the theatre, but there is nothing more I love than hearing that what I am seeing is ninety minutes straight through. The fun of going out, the magic of theatre, brilliant performances, terrific writing... All in an hour and a half. I was thinking about this during the week when at The Maids at Trafalgar Studios I misread the play length. I thought it was one hour fifteen but it actually was one hour fifty. "Do make sure you go to the bathroom beforehand," I thought I heard the usher say in a motherly voice. I'm sure they didn't say that but that is what I heard. The Maids is a stylish new translation where two maids plot macabre ways of killing their mistress. It is a new translation of the Jean Genet play by Benedict Andrews and playwright Andrew Upton. It was first staged by Sydney Theatre Company in 2013. In this production Uzo Aduba (from Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black) and Zawe Ashton