Empowering the Freelance Economy

A Mirror: a satirical drama that makes you laugh, reflect and keep guessing until the very end

Image source; The Mirror/The Trafalgar Theatre
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The less you know about the plot of this play before you see it, the better. It’s a genius play-within-a-play that is as cerebral as it is comical. It also proves a great night out in support of fellow freelancers

As we waited for pre-performance drinks at the bar we could hear snippets of French, Spanish and more than one Slavic language. Travelling from the depths of Wiltshire for a 24-hour London cultural fix it was refreshing to be reacquainted with an audience that reflected the cornucopia of British society. Perhaps it was a merely serendipitous mix of theatre-loving multilingual tourists that descended onto London for the Easter weekend, but their presence nonetheless made the experience all the richer. A reminder to all of us present that censorship  – a key theme in the provocative drama – still lurks in even the most “democratic” of societies.

We made our way into the stalls and were reminded of the meaning behind the play’s curious title, a maze of a message that we do not appreciate fully until the very last words are spoken and the final drop of the curtain.

Sam Holcroft’s “The Mirror” is a thought-provoking drama set in a totalitarian state. Something those brought up in the UK can only read about. I couldn’t say the same for those now sitting in the audience. The setting appears to be set for a seemingly ordinary civil wedding ceremony but with a twist.

We theatregoers immediately became part of the congregation, witnessing the complex play unfold. Critics describe it as a play within a play, with clever layers that challenge the status quo and explore themes of rebellion in a controlled society.

Transformational entertainment

“This play is a lie,” proclaims the tagline for Sam Holcroft’s ingenious “The Mirror.” From the moment you step into the transformed theatre, the truth of that statement becomes delightfully hazy.

The theatre is decked out for a wedding, complete with balloons, flowers, and a sense of anticipation. Surprisingly, no curtains are opened, nor appreciative applause from an audience in awe and recognition of stage, film and TV star Jonny Lee Miller. The audience almost unaware of Miller’s presence at first is still chatting; people are still getting into their seats. Miller is not first seen on-stage but pacing in full character among us in the rows of the theatre.

This is how the “ceremony” unfolds, the facade crumbles, revealing a world where truth and fiction are cleverly manipulated.

The brilliance of “The Mirror” lies not just in its clever concept but also in the exceptional performances of its cast. Without wanting to reveal too much, each actor embodies their character with remarkable nuance. We relate to the characters through their uniqueness and equal confusion between personal dreams and societal conformity. They navigate the twists and turns of “the script” with a captivating blend of sincerity and hidden agendas, keeping the audience guessing throughout.

Why this is a play freelancers can appreciate

One particular strength is the way the play sheds light on the precarious world of freelance script writers. The characters themselves grapple with the uncertainties of their profession, creative expressions and livelihoods, mirroring the very reality of freelance actors who bring them to life.

“The Mirror” is a play that lingers long after the curtain falls. It’s a witty and thought-provoking exploration of truth, censorship, and the human desire for connection alongside authenticity. But it’s also a testament to the dedication and talent of freelance actors and writers who breathe life into stories and ignite our imaginations. So the next time you consider a night at the theatre, remember, that you’re not just indulging in entertainment; you’re supporting your fellow freelancers and their artistic energy.

Who is in the Cast of Sam Holcroft’s “The Mirror”?

Jonny Lee Miller (Celik): You may know him as the platinum-haired Simon “Sick Boy” in the 90s film Trainspotting or as the enigmatic Sherlock Holmes who transports his detective talents to the streets of New York in the TV series “Elementary.” Or if a theatre buff as the 2012 Best Actor Olivier award-winner for his joint performance in Frankenstein with Benedict Cumberbatch. He graces the stage again in “The Mirror,” where he is the charismatic, inspiring and loveably quirky Celik.

Samuel Adewunmi (Adem): BAFTA nominee for his performances in “The Last Tree” and the TV series “You Don’t Know Me.” He took over the role of Adem after the Almeida run and had the audience gripped to his words and comical interludes with Leyla. Michael Ward (Adem) who took part in the original Almeida cast is the BAFTA-nominated actor known for his work in “Empire of Light” and “Top Boy.”

Tanya Reynolds (Leyla): This rising star is also recognised for her performances in “Sex Education” and “Scenes with Girls.” She portrays Leyla in the play. The audience witnesses her character’s vulnerability that transforms as the drama progresses, becoming one of her greatest strengths.

The interesting career shift of playwright Sam Holcroft

Sam Holcroft is a British playwright known for her innovative and thought-provoking works. She has a knack for bringing a sense of unease and moral questioning to her audiences. Her career path is quite interesting, as she initially pursued a scientific path.

Holcroft earned a First Class Honours degree in Developmental Biology at the University of Edinburgh. She even began research on stem cells, but her passion for playwriting ultimately led her in a different direction. She has written critically acclaimed plays like “Cockroach”, won awards, held residencies at prestigious institutions, written an opera libretto, and continues to be a major playwright with her recent West End success “A Mirror.”

A Mirror Tickets | Trafalgar Theatre | London Theatre

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