Sitting by Katherine Parkinson (4 stars)

Sitting by Katherine Parkinson

credit: Robbie Jack

Portrait of an artist and their subject

The set-up for this moving debut play from actor and writer Katherine Parkinson (star of Humans, The IT Crowd and plenty more) might be simple, but she finds in it so much dramatic potential. Mary, Cassandra and Luke are each sitting for portrait paintings by the mysterious, unseen John, the seemingly mundane conversations they conduct with their painter slowly revealing unexpected interconnections and moving truths.

Sitting is a glowingly assured, quietly incisive piece of writing, one that draws its three (or even four) characters with deft, succinct precision, and one that drip-feeds all-important parallels and connections between its protagonists' stories almost imperceptibly. To say more would spoil the huge pleasure to be gained by tuning into the intertwining polyphony of Parkinson's writing – and even if there is a pay-off, it's probably not what you expected.

Director Sarah Bedi allows plenty of space and air for the three stories to breathe, and gets beautifully nuanced performances from her three-strong cast: Grace Hogg-Robinson touchingly vulnerable as needy compulsive liar Cassandra; James Alexandrou all bluster and swagger as Luke, unsure why he's there at all; and Hayley Jane Standing glorious as the unwittingly sensual Mary. Sitting is a sharp, perceptive piece of work, delivered brilliantly. (David Kettle)

Gilded Balloon Teviot, until 26 Aug, 3.15pm, £14--£16 (£13—£14).

Sitting by Katherine Parkinson

  • 4 stars

BBC Arts and Avalon Promotions 'Do you even need me here? I think you do. Actually.' Luke, Cassandra and Mary are sitting. They sit weekly for their portraits and, in a series of revealing sessions, end up sharing their funny and moving tales of love, longing and loss. Sitting is the debut play by BAFTA Award-winning…

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