Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Review: The House of Mirrors and Hearts at the Arcola Theatre

The House of Mirrors and Hearts
Arcola Theatre
Reviewed on Tuesday 7th July 2015

The House of Mirrors and Hearts is a unique new chamber musical. Perfectly suited to the intimacy of the Arcola Theatre, Ryan McBryde's production intrigues and entices. With book and lyrics by Robert Gilbert, the piece centres around the dark secrets of a British family.

When new lodger Nathan moves in with the family, skeletons are brought out of the closet and the family are forced to face their past. I don't want to give anything further away or spoil any surprises, but there are some interesting mysteries surrounding the plot which carefully untangle.

At first I found Eamonn O'Dwyer's score a little uncomfortable as many songs are a little harsh; however, I was eventually won over as it is a new sound for musical theatre which complements the piece appropriately. The melodies build upon the uncomfortably dark atmosphere, conveying the pain felt by these deeply unhappy characters.

The performance of the night comes from Gillian Kirkpatrick as the family's disturbed mother, Anna. Kirkpatrick glides around the stage, pouring her heart out. Vocally the role is a challenge, but Kirkpatrick doesn't hold back and injects Anna's pain into every note she sings. (On an entirely unrelated note, if The Addams Family does make it to London, Kirkpatrick would make a great Morticia Addams!).

The other stand out performance comes from Jamie Muscato who makes a big impression as Nathan. Muscato humanises his role from the second he enters, performing with quirky mannerisms and an awkward laugh which immediately wins the audience over.

I like that The House of Mirrors and Hearts knows exactly what it is; the show has style and brings something different to the table.

Reviewed by Andrew Tomlins (Editor)

The House of Mirrors and Hearts runs at the Arcola Theatre until Saturday 1st August 2015.
Please visit for further information and tickets.

Photo Credit: Darren Bell

No comments:

Post a Comment