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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

Trends in theatre 2019 (of sorts)...

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As the year draws to a close, many writers decide to write up the best or worst things at the theatre they have seen. Since I try to avoid things I know I won’t like, I'm covering what I've noticed are the all-pervasive trends in London theatre this year... Happy New Year... Phones in theatres No theatre space is complete without people wanting to text, secretly film or browse their smartphone. Even at the Royal Opera. As the orchestra started up you could hear the hissing of "turn your phone off" throughout the stalls. I put up with a man sitting next to me who had yet to master the art of silencing his phone by listening to his low battery warning for the first few minutes of the third act. After all, opera-goers can be a tough lot  and I didn’t want trouble. Perhaps we have it all wrong. Theatres could probably win new audiences by having a noisy, phone using section of the theatres. Just like there used to be smoking areas. Just as long as the noisy audie

Summertime: Leave London

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Summertime is a chance to be out of London, which given recent events has been quite a relief. But it hasn't all been muscle boys in tight speedos on beaches of Nice. I am also at the Edinburgh Fringe reviewing for Whatsonstage.com and The Public Reviews . It is a great opportunity to see some strange and interesting shows and meet some rather lovely and talented people. I will publish and tweet these reviews separately, along with the links to the above sites. I'm up in Edinburgh until Sunday so welcome any suggestions for things I should catch, but at the moment I am on a deadline to publish three more reviews and find a complete stranger who speaks fluent French. Now if I only had my instructions a few days ago when I was surreptitiously taking pictures on the beach... The things we do for cultural inspiration... Now back to the laptop...