10 January 2020

Mirror Mirror at Tristan Bates Theatre was nicely strange

I was not going to miss a play written by Robert Calvert, a former front-man with Hawkwind and producer of some iconic solo albums of which Captain Lockheed and the Starfighters (1974) is the best known.

I had seen one of his other plays, The Stars That Play With Laughing Sam's Dice, a couple of times and that was another reason for wanting to see this one. The last time I saw that play was at Pentameters theatre in Hampstead and it was their production of Mirror Mirror that transferred to Tristan Bates. The Pentameters poster for the play was better that Tristan Bates' so I am using theirs!

Mirror Mirror was decidedly weird, and all the more fun for that.

The main theme of the play, the one that gives it its title, was a Reflexotronics mirror which reflects image as other people see us with it being programmed for each viewpoint. A middle aged woman does not like what she sees when choosing her absent husband's viewpoint, so she calls in a technician.

That technician is a main source of weirdness. At first I thought that he was an automaton but it later transpired that he was a clone when, in a high-point of the play, he recited the clone poem that forms the second verse of the Hawkwind/Hawklords classic Spirit of the Age; "I am a clone, I am not alone, ..."

For seventy minutes the two people interact, her with her concerns about her appearance and her loneliness and him being mechanical but not quite with it, and certainly not sympathetic. It was a two-handed play and both Andrea Milton and Thomas Walker Barron were utterly convincing as the two strange strangers.

Mirror Mirror had been updated slightly, the phrase "See it, Say it, Sorted" was certainly not in the original text, but it was still very much of the psychedelic seventies and your reaction to the play would depend on your reaction to the arts of that time. I grew up then and the pay worked well for me, just as Hawkwind's music of that time does.

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