If an opportunity to secretly people-watch was presented in your living room, would you do it? One Way Mirror is a solo show recreating a true story of that exact scenario.
The stage centres around a large one way mirror which, with certain lighting, can be seen through and also be reflective. Jonathan Oldfield, the creator and performer of the show, has one of these in his home. Tonight he takes the audience at Camden People’s Theatre on a journey through to the other side of it, where we are allowed to learn his best kept secret of people-watching. He charismatically engages the full room of budding listeners through his palpable stage presence and excellent storytelling. This show is fascinatingly unique, and yet feels authentic and relatable.
The mirror makes for some really exciting and engaging images throughout the show which enhance Oldfield’s alluring and poetic writing. These visuals transgress the one way mirror with use of smaller mirrors, creating reflectors of light around the stage. Additional shadow puppetry is used to reflect on the stories told and to transition through scenes. Music and lighting frame this show with perfect colour and a background soundscape.
Oldfield’s writing is warm, comedic, and beautifully structured to really take the spectator on a journey. However, important choices in the directions the narrative takes are left up to the audience, handing an element of control over and making the stories participatory. The choices are made through taking photographs and filling in gaps in sentences. It’s fascinating to think how phones can also be seen as portable one way mirrors, seeing into people’s lives without the ability for them to see back, and this makes the show very relatable and personal.
We learn how our choices impact the stories at the end of the evening when an invited audience member finishes sentences to conclude how each character and tale should end, ultimately deciding whether Oldfield should intervene, or stay behind the mirror. It was enjoyable to be part of the unfolding of the stories, and watch, in real time, the creation of the ending.
The process feels authentic from the beginning to the end, but Oldfield still manages to make it feel like he has manipulated the audience into making the choices he intended us to. Although the show concludes with an audience member’s words, there’s still a suspicion that this is what was meant to happen all along.
We have all been faced with some form of one way mirror in our lives, in isolation or in the age of technology, and especially since the collective struggle of the past few years post-pandemic, so this show feels highly relatable and important. One Way Mirror leaves you with a feeling of humanity and a reminder that even if sometimes you want to be an observer like “David Attenborough”, it is important to remember to pass through your one way mirror and be a watcher like “Stacy Dooley”.
Written by: Jonathan Oldfield
One Way Mirror has completed its current run.