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Theatre review: Mirror Teeth 
15th-Jul-2011 10:17 pm
Nick Gill's surreal satire on Little Englanders, Mirror Teeth received a rehearsed reading at the Vibrant Festival two years ago, and now returns to the Finborough for a full-scale production as the main event in this year's new writing season. James and Jane Jones (David Verrey and Catherine Skinner) and their children John and Jenny (Jamie Baughan and Louise Collins) speak entirely in exposition ("we live in one of the larger cities of Our Country,") describe their own lives as if they're something they vaguely read about in a newspaper ("I'm about to take my A'levels, or whatever it is these days,") and blithely discuss their sex lives at the dinner table. James is an arms dealer but he and his wife are afraid of some nonspecific threat from "the ethnics" who all wear hoods and probably have knives, so when Jenny introduces her new boyfriend Kwesi (Jotham Annan) Jane is terrified. Director Kate Wasserberg has done an excellent job of bringing out the utterly bizarre, highly stylised dialogue right from the start and at times the play is very funny, if rather savagely so. The first act's targets of English hypocrisy and small-mindedness are clear but in the second and third (the play runs for 100 minutes with no interval) as the family relocate to A Middle Eastern Country the play does lose its way a bit and I would struggle to tell you what Gill was trying to say here - a shame because for the first half hour or so I thought this was going to be very much my sort of thing but by the time a weird mystical element is introduced I was nonplussed and underwhelmed. A theme of incest that runs throughout the play is also genuinely uncomfortable to watch. Still, the performances are all good, especially from Collins, and Philip Lindley's monochrome set conceals a so-simple-it's-brilliant device for adding to the final act's nightmarish sense of dislocation.

Mirror Teeth by Nick Gill is booking until the 30th of July at the Finborough Theatre.
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