Sitting — BAFTA Award-winning actor Katherine Parkinson’s first toe-dip into playwriting — has great potential as a narrative. Three life models walk into a studio, in parallel time periods, and begin opening up to an unseen artist.
But the show doesn’t quite meet its potential. Conversations with the mystery artist are more like monologues, and we get very little insight into who the mystery man actually is. More pauses and reactions would really do the trick — the few they did do worked really well.
Luke is the strongest and best-defined character in the play. A cross between a bit of a geezer and a clumsy, apologetic, child-like man, Mark Weinman plays this part perfectly. He’s earnest and funny: “When you first asked to paint me, I thought you meant literally. Like face paint.” Most importantly, he’s believable. And this is something lacking in the other two characters, who are a little too dramatic, self-centred and undefined to be genuine.
The play has a lightness and an overtly positive tone to it, which makes it a pleasant play to sit through and soak in. The humour and interwoven narratives keep it moving along at a good pace, and prevent it from being tedious. But Luke’s character, script and narrative shines so brightly in the play that we could have sat and watched his performance alone for the entire 70 minutes.
Sitting, Arcola Theatre, 24 Ashwin Street, Dalston, E8 3DL, from £15. Until 30 April
Last Updated 16 April 2019