Review of 'Sketching'

James Graham

sketching.jpg https://www.wiltons.org.uk/whatson/471-james-graham-s-sketching

When tickets for this show came up the idea sounded so good we could not pass up. It consists of a series of small plays about Londoners that, as the show progresses, we find are increasingly interconnected. The pivotal story around which all others end up connecting is “Peter Piper Has a Plan” (by James Graham) where a recently released convict devises a plan to bring London to a halt that includes freeing of the ravens from the Tower of London and “bringing down the Internet” in the city. “The Keycutters Daughter” (by Aaron Douglas) sees an ailing keycutter seeking to hand over his business to his disinterested daughter but who then discovers something that may save them both. “Petra's Polski Sklep” (by Adam Hughes) is quite hard hitting with the return to England of Polish woman's brother who is wants more than just a tea from her. Not all of the plays are so serious with “Arnav the Route Master” (by Ella Langely) an amusing “London Big Bus Company” tour guide weaving elaborate stories as he points out the sites of London…though this does not go unnoticed by management. In “The Physicist and the Fortune Teller” (by Chloe Mi Lin Ewart) a quantum physicist seems to be continually thwarted from meeting her date for the evening with a strange prophesy of a stranger on the tube then the call of Greenwich park…

As each story plays out on the ingenious stage – a series of elevated platforms – the projected backdrop changes so we can keep track of what storyline is being presented. Scene and costume changes are rapid with the cast often on the stage before they next appear. The cast are absolutely incredible as they seamlessly transition from scene to scene and character to character complete with different accents and demeanour along with large amounts of dialogue. They are all – Samuel James, Penny Layden, Nav Sidhu, Sean Michael Verey, and Sophie Wu – to be absolutely commended with their utterly convincing and compelling performances. At more than two hours (excluding an interval) this is quite a long performance but it manages to cram a lot of interesting stories and characters into that time.

The stories of “Sketching” are heartwarming and, ultimately, satisfying. Excellently staged and extremely engaging, simply a wonderful play. Worth the trip out to the east end and finding the amazing Wilton's to see it…

Rating:

Review Date: 2018-10-25



Wilton's Music Hall

Location: London (England)

Address: 1 Graces Alley (pedestrian access only) London, E1 8JB ENGLAND

Public Transport: TUBE Tower Hill NRLOGO Shadwell

Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7702 2789

URL: https://www.wiltons.org.uk/

It is a bit hard to find though walking along Royal Mint Street there are signs pointing you down to the (very well lit) back Alley where Wilton's theatre can be found. Wilton's puts on a wide assortment of entertainment including plays, musicals, concerts and talks. At 300 years old Wilton's is the “oldest surviving Grand Music Hall” and a real gem..

The interior is very “rustic chic” but has a lot of seating for theatregoers in the bar area and the first floor for the interval or for something light to eat before the show (though this area can fill up quickly given the lack of light dining choices in the area so if you arrive closer to curtain up you may need to stand).

Bar Area

The bar offers a good selection of beers but also nice light snacks including some very delicious looking pizzas.

Stairs

The U-shaped auditorium has a large stage with a small stalls seating area with simple plastic seats. The balcony wraps along three walls which are decorated with the occasional fresco. The acoustics are generally quite good in the small space. Feels a lot like a fringe venue…