Review: Mirrors

3 star rating
Examines beauty via a confusing fairytale that questions the issue of body image, but obfuscates rather than clarifies, and fails to milk the surreal plot for effective humour.
Mirrors at Leicester Square Theatre

Image: Butchy Davy



Closes here: Saturday 14 April 2018

Author:
Siobhan McMillan

Composer:
Face + Heel

Director:
Gabi Maddocks

Cast:

Siobhan McMillan

Synopsis


Inept vlogger Shy Girl has been stood up.


Again.


Humiliated and a little intoxicated, she stares into her bedroom mirror and decides it is time to act.


Shy Girl conjures up Shivvers - a wicked witch, distant relative of Snow White's stepmother and the most gorgeous person in the universe.


When her mirror announces that her beauty has a rival, Shivvers embarks on a mission to track down and destroy whoever dares to be more gorgeous than she.


Both a black comedy and a modern fairytale, Mirrors is a provocative and poetic exploration of narcissism and neurosis.


Siobhan McMillan's remarkable performance takes the audience on a fabulous flight of fancy in search of validation and vodka.


Background


Mirrors arrives at the Leicester Square Theatre Lounge after acclaimed runs at the Rosemary Branch and King's Head Theatres in North London.

Trailer



ActDrop reviews


Peter Brown

Performance date: Thursday 29 March 2018
Review star rating image for 3 stars

Beauty and body image still seem to be dominant factors in both the romantic arena and in success in many areas of modern life, including careers.


Even in what some people might regard as an enlightened society, women in particular are, sadly, often judged on their personal appearance and the shape of their bodies rather than on their capabilities and who they are.


That leaves the door wide open for critical examination, and this one-woman show, written and performed by Siobhan McMillan, seeks to tackle the issue of beauty and image by taking us on a fairytale expedition through the looking glass.

Siobhan McMillan in Mirrors at the Leicester Square Theatre

Siobhan McMillan - photo: Thomas Aston


It starts with a 30-something vlogger called Shygirl, who is hardly what one might describe as hugely successful in the competitive world of YouTube video stars.


With a mere handful of followers and a lacklustre sexual relationship in progress - she's clearly being used by her latest boyfriend - she decides to adopt an alter ego called 'Shivvers', an imagined relative of Snow White's stepmother, who uses the mirror to take us on an investigative and experimental journey.


In this small studio space at Leicester Square Theatre, sight lines are not always advantageous, since the audience all reside on the same level.


And Gabi Maddocks' direction fails to address this limitation, with much of the action taking place in a seated position, on the same or sometimes below the level of the audience, obscuring it from view.


That and the content pose some real problems for the audience.


As the director readily admits in her programme notes, there are times when this monologue is a challenge for the audience as the plot meanders into the realms of the oddly surreal.


It is actually much more than a 'challenge' as it starts to become confusing fairly early on, so it's not clear just what the intentions really are.


That doesn't always matter of course - many plays offer ambiguous, evasive or oblique pointers to what they are purporting to convey, leaving the audience to decide what the true purpose is and how to react.


But here it just leaves a sense of unsettling doubt.


Ms McMillan has certainly hit, though, on a matter of considerable concern, more than worthy of consideration in dramatic form.


And there's a novelty in her underlying approach which is initially appealing and worth developing.


But the lack of clarity, in terms of just where the plot is taking us, becomes somewhat irritating after a while, because it fails to help us make connections and draw conclusions.


And I didn't seem to be alone in being bewildered - two young women in front of me kept glancing at each other as though silently asking "what's going on?".


Though there are humorous moments, they are rare, and the script doesn't really seize the opportunities the plot affords to milk it for satirical and biting humour which of itself might have helped clarify the play's ambitions.



ActDrop listing for Leicester Square Theatre
Our show listing for Mirrors
Read our reviews' policy

Buy tickets from ActDrop for ...


Buy tickets for brief Encounter