Katherine Parkinson’s Sitting may leave many audience members, who aren’t actors looking for possible audition pieces, a little bored.
Established actor Katherine Parkinson premieres her first playwriting project this Fringe, as part of BBC Arts’ DEBUT initiative. In Sitting, three seemingly unrelated characters pose for a painter and share their life stories. The characters expose their insecurities, their troublesome past and their hopes for the future.
The monologues path the way for astute acting performances from James Alexandrou, Grace Hogg-Robinson and – especially – Hayley Jayne Standing, who plays a middle-aged single mother in love with the painter. Standing projects such warmth and heartbreak that Sitting won’t leave anyone cold – however, the concept of the show could leave many audience members, who are not actors looking for possible audition pieces, a little bored. The play’s continued stillness, and show’s basic structure (one monologue followed by the next), might be too much for many audience members to handle.
As a piece of writing, Sitting is lacking with regards to action and plot– or, conversely, abundant in its absolute bravery to be highly unusual. The text and staging just don’t always feel connected. Sarah Bedi’s attempt to stage Parkinson’s play as a plot-driven piece of writing jars, opting for simple Mise-en-scène rather than giving it a highly-stylised directorial vision that seems necessary to support the text and retain audience interest.
Personally, I enjoyed Parkinson’s character studies very much and would watch Sitting again given the chance, but it is not a show I would recommend to the wider audience. To enjoy the show, one must be very interested in people and life stories. Sitting feels more appropriate for those who love to have a cup of tea with a stranger and hear some interesting stories, rather than necessarily avid lovers of the stage.