19 July 2011 (released)
27 July 2011
It’s Thursday evening and I am off to see a futuristic play set in the year 2030, which was written back in 1979 by Hawkwind’s Robert Calvert. No wonder the tagline reads ‘Nostalgia for the Future!’
Mirror Mirror is not just any futuristic play mind you, neither has it been written by just anyone. Robert Calvert, former lead singer with groundbreaking space-rockers Hawkwind and an acclaimed writer and poet who died in 1988, wrote this fantasy in honour of his friend, the ever-fabulous Helen Mirren, who obviously inspired him.
The plot – as such – concerns Eleanor Bryant (Eva Gray), a sassy lady of a certain age obsessed with her looks who wears a ‘psychechromic’ dress which responds to her various emotions and moodswings. Forever gazing into a multi-perspective ‘mirror’ that reflects her image not how she perceives herself but how others see her, she gets distressed when one day her husband seems to see her ‘old’ and in many ways flawed and unattractive. Instead of putting the blame on her constant mood swings and increasing unhappiness, she puts the blame on a technical fault with the mirror. Enter the very friendly and helpful Reflexotronics Mirror Technician (Christian Devellerez), who can’t seem to find any fault when checking the mirror. Then again, Eleanor can’t find any fault when checking out the young and extremely handsome technician and soon makes a pass at him (think Mrs. Robinson and Benjamin) – with unintentionally funny but also rather pathetic results.
As the young man tries to fend off Eleanor’s awkward advances without offending her as a potential customer, the woman displays an increasingly clingy and disturbed manner…
Both Eva Gray and Christian Devellerez provide the perfect on-stage chemistry and while Gray injects her character with just the right level of pathos, glam-boy Devellerez successfully avoids to make his performance bordering on camp.
The lines are delivered seamless and with perfect timing for inter-acting, something that’s even more important seeing how Gray and Devellerez are the only two actors in the play! The ending, however, could do with bit more panache.
This new and extended version of the play is a somewhat psychedelic journey back into the future, with a ‘space-age’ set design by Godfrey Old that includes a lot of silver-painted objects, bubble wrap and trippy paintings. Lighting and music are spot on and enhance the ‘out of this world’ visuals.
As it now has become ‘tradition’, Pentameters founder Léonie-Scott Matthews (who also produced and directed Mirror Mirror) always welcomes her audience with a personal speech and some anecdotes, usually sporting a suitable costume. For this occasion, she sported a maxi-length black glitter dress and platforms, in keeping with the 70’s space age theme of the play. She also treated the audience to two poems, one by Calvert (whom she personally knew) and one of her own. That’s one way of padding out a play that’s only one hour long!
The press evening after-party was just as delightful, with former Hawkwind member Nik Turner blowing away on his sax, as guests sipped wine.
The play runs until 14th of August and also please read my separate interview with Eva Gray and Christian Devellerez.
Pentameters Theatre 28 Heath Street, Hampstead, NW3 6TE (Hampstead tube)
Box Office: 020 7435 3648
Times: Jul 19 - Sept 4, Tues - Sat 8pm, Sun matinee 5pm (£12, £10 concessions)