BWW Review: SITTING, Arcola Theatre
Two women and a man are called into the same studio at different times to have their portrait painted by John, an ageing artist.
Luke (Mark Weinman), approached on the street, is unemployed and his wife is expecting a baby; Mary (Hayley Jayne Standing) is smitten with the painter and has a complicated life; Cassandra is a young aspiring actress who's struggling with her past and identity.
Albeit enjoying a sold-out run in Edinburgh, Katherine Parkinson's debut play is an underwhelming and generally weak piece of theatre. It presents few comedic instances - here mainly led by Weinman's timing and aplomb - and any statement it wants to make becomes lost in what essentially feels like a vanity project.
The nearly non-existent direction doesn't help the already stiff and static plot. Director Sarah Bedi sets an anaemic pace and has the three sitting on chairs, barely moving throughout the show, but giving well-rounded and meticulous performances anyway.
Their one-sided conversations span quite random subjects, but from Luke's marital problems to Cassandra's career, Parkinson merely introduces people who don't have anything to say.
Everything comes together about ten minutes from the end after an hour's worth of time spent listening to uninteresting characters who only every so often manage to drag out a laugh from the audience. Even though the reason why these individuals have been put side by side suddenly falls in place, it comes with no resounding effect and just sits there as another element in the still life that is this play.
Photo credit: Alex Brenner