For anyone who might have a Black Mirror-shaped hole in their lives, I couldn’t recommend The Sewing Group more.
A woman arrives in a rural village in pre-industrial England. Her desire is to sew and learn from their simple way of life. But the group soon begins to suspect she is not who they thought she was. The synopsis gives little away, and does well to divert the audience from the true premise and outcome of the play.
The show begins with extended periods of silence, as women sit hunched on the stage, earnestly sewing. The silence is broken only by plunging blackouts and stilted, awkward dialogue. The play gradually builds in pace, keeping the audience guessing until….
Who doesn’t love a twist in a story? This is one of those that makes you want to go right back to the beginning and watch again, knowing what you know now.
The Black Mirror undertones.
Treading very carefully so as not to give anything away, the play’s big reveal could be lifted straight from the notebooks of Charlie Brooker. The story makes us question our desire to step out of the modern world, and our yearning for a simpler time.
Attention to detail.
Sometimes it’s the smallest details that make you remember why you love theatre. The Sewing Group credits Ruth de Courcy in the programme, a sewing consultant. E. V. Crowe said recently in an interview that all the cast learnt to sew properly, and now even have favourite stitches.
The cast of The Sewing Group. Photo: Stephen Cummiskey
Who doesn’t love a trip to the Royal Court? Grab a sausage roll and a beer from the basement bar, then take yourself up the (many!) stairs to the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs, every step taking you further away, lending to that blissful feeling of escapism.
E.V. Crowe’s acknowledgements in The Sewing Group programme.
Find out more and book tickets on the Royal Court Theatre website.