Sitting by Katherine Parkinson

Step into the world of a portrait painter…

Sitting by Katherine Parkinson

Located in the decadent venue of the Gilded Balloon Dining Room, Sitting takes you into the world of an impressionist painter. 

The stage is set up like the studio of a bohemian artist as canvases and paintings are piled around the room and propped against the walls. It’s a Wednesday afternoon in London. 

The audience assumes the position of the painter and each of the three actors sit in front and address us as though speaking to the painter himself. From this perspective, while these people sit for their weekly portraits, we get to know their characters as they relay stories from their lives. 

There was a subtle and symbolic meaning attached to the play: it is gentle insinuation that art is a form of therapy as each actor open ups and confides in ‘the painter’. Similarly, as each character is a different representative figure in society we see that the artist is painting life as it happens: he is painting a picture of society. We are seeing art in the making, the people behind the paintings. We experience this creative process, but we are seeing art in more ways than one. As well as the assuming the perspective of the painter, we are also involved with the theatrical process of watching the actors, as an audience. 

The concept and stylistic elements are original and innovative, however, there lacks a centrality to the plot: I felt as though I was waiting for a thread to bring it all together and give the play direction. When the plot twist does finally get revealed it is all a bit too late. The revelation failed to have the surprise effect and was all too obvious as I more or less guessed the ending. Likewise, each character is a generic typecast and lack the individual nuances necessary to be believable. This resulted in the characters making no lasting impression. 

Conceptual and creative with clear potential but not the hard-hitting conclusion it should have had.

Gilded Balloon Dining Room @ 15:15

For tickets and details visit:


Louise Maloney

Louise Maloney Local Reporter

Brighton based content writer and designer. A lover of words – both digital and print. A people person, writer, and sports enthusiast.

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