Stitching – The White Bear

Stitching, by Anthony Neilson, is a disappointing play. Having read reviews about its production at the Edinburgh Fringe, I was excited and slightly anxious to be watching its revival. Unfortunately, Stitching had very little to offer its audience. Based in a small apartment with the bed centre stage, it was supposed to be a play about a couple who found it difficult to cope with the news of their pregnancy and whether they felt their relationship was strong enough to go through with it. With endless amounts of ‘f’ words and ‘c’ words embedded in the script, Neilson was attempting to create ‘real-life’ scenes that depicted how two people would cope with such a situation. But the endless swearing became really quite monotonous and unnecessary. So much so, that the actors delivered their lines with no true feeling.

Stitching found it difficult to find an identity. The lighting had an almost sci-fi theme, using a fluorescent green to light up a pile of children’s toys underneath the main bulk of the set – a bed. Had this theme been appropriate to the play then it would not be so much of a problem. Combining a play with a script that begs to be seen as a raw and real representation of lives troubles with lighting and sounds techniques that would be most suited to representing a production based on ‘out of this world’ experiences was very confusing for the audience. I was half-expecting the play to take a dramatic turn mid-way through and reveal something that was dark and unimaginable.

The actors were not entirely convincing in their role as a couple. Adam Howden, playing Stu, was quite static in his delivery of lines and Sarah Harkins, playing Abby, was also quite awkward in her presence. Despite the script explicitly showing the close relationship between Abby and Stu, the actors failed to replicate any affection towards each other.

The wrong signals given by both the performers and technical aspects of the play made this production a bit of a flop. It was not enjoyable nor did it arouse any sort of emotion. The audience questioned: ‘Where is this play trying to go’ and the end of the play gave no answer.

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