Tuesday, 3 April 2018

REVIEW: Mirrors at Leicester Square Theatre Lounge

In a relationship for six weeks, ShyGirl is excited to share the news with her online followers and, whilst waiting for her beau to pick her up, starts recording a video to post on her vlog. Little does she know that her date won't show up, leaving her alone in the room with her own phantasms. Stood up and heart-broken, she spends the evening drinking vodka directly from the bottle and binge-eating crisps and houmous, whilst assailed by a horde of alter-egos that embody her anxieties and guilts.

The most powerful of these personas is the maleficent witch Shivvers who, provoked by her own talking mirror, embarks on a quest for the woman who stole her title of "most beautiful in the world". Shivvers's unconditioned faith in her mirror – which happens to have the voice and the name of a man – says a lot about the harmful consequences of his judgement and, despite being a strong and charismatic woman, her confidence wavers when confronted by his unfavourable feedback. Even the happiness of the most gorgeous woman in the world depends on the opinion of a man!

At the end of a long and enriching journey, following encounters with several flawed women, Shivvers eventually meets ShyGirl, to discover that they have a lot more in common than she had initially thought. Their final conversation contains a wealth of advice to take on board.

Drawing largely from her own experience, writer and performer Siobhan McMillan fleshed out a handful of women in which audience members can find themselves reflected and, possibly, have a laugh about their own insecurities. Although female punters might find it easier to relate to, this doesn't mean that men can't grab this opportunity to better understand the potential damage of their attitude.

In its current format, this dark comedy has evolved impressively since its 2015 debut at the Fundamental Monodrama Festival in Luxemburg, thanks to McMillan's determination to improve it until it reaches perfection. If anything, it could benefit from a little tightening in the transition between characters, as I occasionally struggled to keep track of which alter-ego was talking to which.

Both a modern fairy-tale and an inspiring feminist manifesto, McMillan's beautifully designed one-hander is a call to arms for all women to stop competing with each other and join forces to get their voices finally heard.

Review by Marianna Meloni

Rating: ★★★★

Seat: unreserved | Price of ticket: £14 (£12 concess)
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