Pros: McMillan’s energetic performance and witty monologue are engaging and elevate the show.
Cons: The themes and underlying plot feel muddled, which threatens to undermine the show as a whole.
Mirrors is a new one-woman show performed and written by Siobhan McMillan. The show combines the story of a modern day everywoman’s neuroses concerning her looks and self worth with fairytale inspired storytelling. The main character, overlooked by her boyfriend Joe, is transformed into the wicked witch Shivers, who sets out on a journey to find the woman Joe thinks ‘fairer’ than herself.
The show’s staging, lighting and use of sound are functional but effective. A few novel touches stand out, such as the use of arresting webcam footage of McMillan projected onto the stage’s back wall and an entertaining ‘avalanche’ of crisps cascading from the ceiling. Likewise, the varied lighting, from eerie blood-red to warm and sunlit orange, add interest to the production.
The Rosemary Branch Theatre is compact but welcoming, and it was great to see the theatre full for this production. Throughout the show, McMillan makes great use of the small stage and central stairs in a physical role that involves climbing, creeping and leaping her way through the storytelling. Her energy, combined with the tightly packed audience, made the theatre feel well-used and thrumming with activity.
One-person shows live or die by their performer’s ability to keep an audience engaged and interested. McMillan is an able performer, with a particular knack for humour. Her self-penned script helps to carry the show and shows a real ability to set the scene and craft well-observed characters. McMillan’s amusing delivery lifted the show up and rightfully earned some sizable laughs from the audience.
The show’s main weakness is its narrative. While McMillan is very successful in teasing out the humour in telling a modern story using the trappings of a fairy tale, the underlying plot is lacklustre. Although only fifty minutes long, the storyline of a woman lacking in self confidence comparing herself to others feels too flimsy to carry the show. It is a testament to how engaging McMillan’s performance is that, as confused as the underlying themes are, the show remains taut and keeps the audience engaged.
Given McMillan’s evident storytelling abilities, it would have been interesting to see the show’s plot and themes teased out further. Without this additional depth, the show struggles to really resonate with the audience in its more serious moments and fails to give us something to mull over once the show ends. That being said, for a show of its length, Mirrors is a taut production and an enjoyable, engaging watch.
Author: Siobhan McMillan
Director: Jesse Raiment
Booking Information: This show has now completed its run.