The Mirror Show
nytheatre.com review by Heather McAllister
August 14, 2012
The Mirror Show is definitely interesting, yet hard to classify. It’s more of a concert with dialogue than a musical. The music by E.O. Levendorf and C.E. Drew is dancy, club style music with an unexpectedly dark topic: women who are trapped, or lost, sometimes by habit, sometimes by choice.
We find ourselves in some crystalline minimalist underworld, maybe purgatory, maybe a corridor to hell itself. I’m not sure. Eerie lighting by Mitchell Ost and striking sound design by David Leaver unsettle us. A lost girl has been brought in, captured during a storm over St. Tropez by “The Svengali,” the powerful and silky voiced Peter Reznikoff. He determines the lost girl’s fate, he decides if she will indeed remain lost.
Following his command, two lovely young women - other lost girls - share their sad tales through song. The stunning Molly Millard, “The Actress,” stoically sings complex dance hits revealing her inner fury, pain, acceptance of her messed up life and bad choices with men. Although the lyrics assure us she’ll never show her real feelings, her eyes tell us otherwise. She is trapped and quite compelling. Millard is shockingly beautiful and expressive. Most impressive is how she achieves this with such minimal movement. Take the mic off the stand, take two steps, and back. That’s it. Yet she shines.
Each song by “The Actress,” based on a location and man, is followed by a ballad variation of the same by “The Understudy,” the lovely Lynda DeFuria. While The Actress stands with a microphone and stand, The Understudy sits behind a glittery keyboard.
The songs are great and the women are amazing. Although “night club” in style, the substance of the lyrics go deep. “Italiano,” deals with being abandoned and the equal desire for revenge and renewal, repeating: “die, die, die, die, come back to me.” “Cocaine Housewife” defends the wasted life of a bored Miami housewife with my favorite lyric: “I was born to be beautiful and do nothing with my life,” which is repeated over and over, as if she is trying to convince herself that this was indeed her choice.
But my favorite character is “The Lost Girl.” Kim Krane plays a gorgeous dumb blonde, but doesn’t play dumb. She is strong and funny, poignant and sweet. Her self awareness is revealed little by little, in layers peeled off like sunburned skin. She is adorable, and worth building a show around.
I do wish Director E.O. Levendorf used more movement. I understand the stylistic choice to “mirror” the static lives of these women by having them virtually frozen in place, but to me it felt like an element was missing.
Still, the music is intriguing and strong, the actors are funny and have great depth, and we become invested in the fate of The Lost Girl. She is that secret part of all of us, hidden even from ourselves. Frozen, waiting to thaw.