Jonathan Blakeley
Sarah Lawrie
Hope Theatre

Listing details and ticket info...

Jonathan Blakeley
Jonathan Blakeley
Jonathan Blakeley

There is something about the universality of an adult’s enduring fondness for their childhood teddy bear that makes Jonathan Blakeley’s new play, Stitches, immediately endearing.

In it, Blakeley plays newborn Chloe’s first bear, bought for her by a doting grandmother, securing his place in her affections.

Over the years, he goes wherever she goes and together they survive many of the firsts of young life: fancy dress rivalries, starting periods, discovering boys, practicing sex.

Through it all, Chloe and Bear’s bond stays strong, her squeezing Bear’s ear becoming shorthand for the boost of courage she gets when the struggles of growing up need more than the comfort of a hug alone.

Bear and Chloe’s remain inseparable, their reciprocal devotion lasting through to university, but when Chloe enters the world of adulthood, Bear is consigned to a storage box.

After some time (it eventually becomes apparent this is some decades), someone retrieves Bear and, washed and repaired, he once again becomes the loyal companion to Chloe, who now has Alzheimer’s.

The conclusion is moving, although the construct is always a rather detached one—the audience is observing Bear live his life by observing Chloe living hers, and the impact of the vibrant young Chloe diminished by Alzheimer’s is diluted by being experienced at this one remove.

Bear’s perspective is a refreshing one from which to explore friendship and the effect of Alzheimer’s on relationships, but the rose-tinted glow cast by his monocular vision of unconditional love and unquestioning loyalty obscures the ugliness of it.

It is credit to Blakeley that Stitches nonetheless remains touching, and the strength of Chloe and Bear’s connection is all the more poignant because Bear is just an everyday teddy and Chloe is just an ordinary person; there are no heroics or superpowers, and if they share something magical, it is a creation of their own.

The energetic Blakeley is charmingly and understatedly anthropomorphic as the cuddly teddy with a heart of gold and an inclination to swearing and being a bit of a bruiser. All bears are cute, but this one has attitude and charisma!

This is a warm hug of a play which may leave you thinking that before next date night, your bear might have to move into the spare room.

Reviewer: Sandra Giorgetti

*Some links, including Amazon,,, ATG Tickets, LOVEtheatre, BTG Tickets, Ticketmaster, LW Theatres and QuayTickets, are affiliate links for which BTG may earn a small fee at no extra cost to the purchaser.

Are you sure?