The Lounge at the Leicester Square Theatre is a warm, intimate studio space with comfortable individual seats and its own bar snuck away in the corner. With the rain lashing the Square it’s a welcome retreat and, suitably accompanied by a glass of Rosé, one can settle down to be theatrically indulged. Mirrors is a one person show which is decidedly entertaining – meticulously directed by Gabi Maddocks and intuitively performed by its creator Siobhan McMillan. It’s also bonkers.
Now, as we are all aware, there is good bonkers and there is bad bonkers: this show, though, can definitely be categorised as intermediate bonkers.
Mirrors attempts to answer the unasked question “who put the grim in the Grimm Brothers” against the topical social-media backdrop of body-shaming tropes and female neuroses. We start with a projected pre-scene of a YouTube make-up instruction video (8 followers) – an inspired addition by Director Maddocks – before McMillan flits into the performance area in long, flowing, bright pink Time-Lordesque, floor-kissing robe (which later transforms into an old hag’s black cloak – excellent work by costume designer Shabnam Naomi Spiers) before setting about the intricate verbal jousting that is the nucleus of the show. It’s a kind of what-Disney- left-out exploration of fairy tale characters who give us a Hobbit/Thrones/Walking Dead experience, a “spot the Witch/the Bitch/ShyGirl/Monster” adventure with a liberal sprinkling of hummus and chips.
As ShyGirl, McMillan takes us on a meandering stream of consciousness infused with all the insecurities of modern girl-about-Facebook. In trying to track down the new beauty on the (Snow White-inspired) block McMillan morphs into former Mirror Queen Shivvers (distant relative of Snow White’s stepmother) and thus stumbles along the beauty-trail seeking to find and destroy the impertinent interloper who has replaced her as the “Face Of… (insert your major ad-campaign of choice – I assume)”.
ShyGirl/Shivvers talks a lot about pouting – and she gives a good pout; she gabbles on about cool bitches and she gives good cool-bitch; and she’s obsessed with the reflection of her head – and she gives good.. er… facial. It’s a veritable potpourri of weird and illogical characters, of zinging one-liners – and some duds – with scenarios that are, at times, entirely bat-shit crazy: McMillan is the master (or should I say mistress – I never know) of the understated punchline, the almost imperceptible raised eyebrow and the flashing, fiery, knowing glance to the audience as she brings out the humour of her own words. It’s good, pulsating entertaining fare – as only intermediate bonkers can be.
Review by Peter Yates
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.
Mirrors by Siobhan McMillan
Running Time 70 minutes
Age Restriction 13+
30th March to 14th April 2018