To a miniscule audience, surprising for a first night performance at the LBT, and with a warning that what is to follow isn’t suitable for “those of a nervous disposition”, The Mist In The Mirror, an adaptation of Susan Hill’s novel, is meant to be a Gothic fireside-style ghost story, but within minutes it becomes evident that such is not to be the case.
Any thrills that are meant to shock and surprise the audience have little to no effect – perhaps they might work on those of a younger age range – and tonight they fall flat.
The tale; that of James Monmouth, played by Paul Warriner, on his quest to discover more about the intrepid adventurer Conrad Vayne, and, subsequently, his own family, unfolds far too slowly; the production could perhaps indeed be delivered in one act rather than two, and as a result, Warriner’s portrayal of a man searching for an identity through Vayne is far more wooden than that which a leading man’s truly should be.
Jack Lord, narrating the story, fares better greatly assisted by being positioned high up in the impressive staging, a spotlight often illuminating him as he reads through the pages of the manuscript which tell the story unfolding below him. However, even his strongest moments are dulled due to ridiculously over-the-top cackling laughter, or the hard-to-believe whimpering of a young child.
For a main cast of just five individuals, with Martin Reeve trebling up his roles, the script which the actors follow is, like the plot, extremely thin and strongly lacking in any depth, which is a great shame as, had it been stronger, it may have greatly helped the portrayal of the story and its characters.
Ultimately the performance is saved by the incredible visuals created and displayed by Imitating The Dog; the lighting adds depth and realness to the locations and harsh conditions Monmouth finds himself surrounded by while the projections help bring a real sense of Edwardian London to modern day Huddersfield.
The Mist In The Mirror runs until Saturday.