Alan Avery and his Northern Lights company have always plucked rarely used scripts from the shelves and here is a real rarity. Indeed an oddity.
The Long Mirror is one of Jack Priestley’s time plays. It was labelled by Priestley himself as the Cinderella of his more serious works and he did admit to hurrying the script.
Composer Michael Camber meets his wife at a remote Welsh hotel to sort out their teetering marriage. Already at the hotel in anticipation of the meeting is the enigmatic Branwen Elder. She knows Camber and she loves him, though they have never met – at least not in normal time and space. She has been ‘inside his head’ for some years and is able to sense his thoughts. He realises that he has known her in his imaginings. Or are they imaginings?
Eva Gray, as Branwen, copes extremely well with a taxing role and an uncomfortably altruistic conclusion in which she gives Camber up. Playing Camber, a chap with quite a temper, is Richard Auckland. He manages to convey initial disbelief in Branwen and then acceptance of her startling insights. Unfortunately the production lacks a sufficiently mysterious atmosphere and both Gray and Auckland need some stillness.
Dominic Goodwin as the hotel’s general factotum brings brisk humour and breezy reality when he appears. As does Martina McClements, playing a permanent, old dear resident.
The Long Mirror might not be classic, top notch Priestley but it has historical importance. These actors give it substance and dramatic value.
Upstairs At The Carriageworks, Leeds, April 18-22, then touring until April 29
- JB Priestley
- Alan Avery
- Northern Lights Theatre Company
- Richard Auckland, Ruth Urquhart, Eva Gray, Martina McClements, Dominic Goodwin
- Running time