Two Way Mirror

Mon 19th – Sat 24th May 2014

reviews

emily quinn

at 12:47 on 21st May 2014

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One of Arthur Miller’s lesser known plays, Two Way Mirror, is actually composed of two completely separate short pieces which explore the fragile nature of reality and the characters’ struggle to find meaning. Both plays are set in a single location within a fixed time – ‘Elegy for a Lady’ is set in a boutique and ‘Some Kind of Love Story’ is set in a bedroom, both encounters seeming to span a mere few hours. Despite these limitations, the play is as rich and complex as any of Miller’s work, made even richer by the talented actors performing it. Each piece only has two characters with both featuring an encounter between a man and a woman. However, the two roles are wildly different. Both actors not only have to drastically change their appearance in the short break between the pieces, but their personalities and mannerisms also. The transformation is so successful that you would be forgiven for thinking they were entirely different actors. Rebecca Robson makes an incredible transformation from a well-to-do shopowner to a schizophrenic prostitute. The schizophrenic attacks, of which the character has many, are performed with such subtlety that it is never immediately clear when the character is in a persona or in their own reality. ‘Some Kind of Love Story’ questions whether an absolute truth of events can exist and Rebecca perfectly embodies the tension between fiction and reality in her acting. Elliot Chapman undertakes a more obviously physical change from an older married man to a young Irish detective, for which the make-up artist probably deserves more praise than Elliot himself. However, that is not to diminish Elliot’s incredible skill. Miller’s link between the two male characters is their insecurity and loss of control, and their desperate attempts to regain it. It would be very easy to make the characters quite similar, despite their age difference, but the diversity of Elliot’s two performances relegates the similarity to a mere thematic link, each role being astonishingly different.

The play itself is a typical Miller play in that all is not what it seems and the audience are never fully sure what exactly is going on, it is absolutely fantastic and well worth watching.

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