Split between past, present and future realities, Too Ready Mirror is an incredible feat of theatrical wonderment. This complex work draws upon cross generational dualities, making for an unflinching and altogether compromising statement on the feminist idea. As we are introduced to each of the characters in rapid succession, a strong rhythm is found. This continues to build as the three individual stories reach their respective heights. In the meantime, the audience are treated to an incredible story that spans not only generation and time, but location, too. From the story of a sex worker in tawdry 17th Century London to a present day love affair between a woman a man and a camera, then with a nod to The Handmaid’s Tale we glimpse an institutionalised future, where woman are forced into servitude and submission by the patriarchy.
The interloping of these worlds and the stories of each of these three women could easily have become something intangible, messy and nondescript. Writer Jamaica Zuanetti, displays a level of quality other contemporary playwrights should aspire to reach. Similarly, director Rachel Baring displays an impressive understanding of craft and the way that great direction can elevate a work of such strong vision and merit. An impressive cast, there are faces among this ensemble that will be ones to watch out for in future.
Completing this vision is an impressive set that places each of these individual stories on separate levels, drawing further parallels between place and time. John Collopy’s lighting design is beautiful; the select colour palette in shades of grey and orange is an intelligent choice in its reserve and refinement. Russell Goldsmith has created a score that is subtle and thorough its soft approach, drifting in and out of focus throughout the performance and building to a neat crescendo in the final scenes.
It’s just so genuinely refreshing to take a chance on a work and discover some really decent theatre. With Darebin Arts having chosen just two works to enjoy decent runs at Northcote Town Hall as part of Melbourne Fringe this year, there is quite possibly no work more deserving of this than Too Ready Mirror. This blistering statement on the social and political climate is a deservingly angry protest of gender and inequality. With its soft fierceness, this may be one of the best theatrical works in this year’s Fringe Festival.