Brighton Fringe 2009
In this one act play, we are presented with a rare piece of visionary theatre – an image of a future where technology plays a lead role in our self-image, where "transvisualisation" allows us to see ourselves in a mirror as others see us, and where psychochromic costumes reflect in colour and design our every mood. Who’d have thought that science fiction could be brought to the stage with such flair and strength?
Eleanor Bryant’s mirror doesn’t seem to be working. It reflects a less than flattering image on the "husband" channel. She calls the repair man, and a play of sexual tension, an exploration of vanity, of the essence of happiness, and of how the near-future may unfold in the aesthetics of life, unfolds, penned by cult writer, poet and musician, Robert Calvert.
Calvert was the lead singer of Hawkwind, before his untimely death. Whereas Hawkwind still persist as a tribute band to themselves, now slicker and fitter and (dare I say it) more sober, than they ever were in the sixties, seventies and eighties, Calvert is revived on the web as a writer, poet and performer of powerful,, still-burning influence.
The play is penned very well, and its concepts of the future were ahead of their time. Calvert’s play speaks to us today, especially the image of a wretchedly content soul who can no longer believe even what she sees in the mirror. Parallels with the social networking generation are clearly there to be made.
Luke Bennett plays the clone mirror repair man with sensuality and a wonderful juxtaposition of innocence with a mischievous twinkle in his eye, and Amanda Sterkenberg exudes an enthralling sensuality and tragi-comic demeanour. Sometime’s Bennett’s delivery lacks clarity, but this is a small quibble – the chemistry between the two is at the same time funny and touching.
Where does the fault lie? With the mirror, or the beholder?
This is a funny play with dark undertones, the characters interpreted with skill by the actors, the direction simple and sharp. There is a twist at the end, but I wonder if this wasn’t a twist too far. I certainly saw it coming. Apparently this script was found in a garage. I am glad it was; the play is well worth seeing; it’s an unique piece of science fiction, visionary theatre that is well executed, coupled with strong writing and very competent performances.