by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move

Mirror mirror on the wall… 

It wasn’t particularly plausible even for a fairy tale, that is, if you are dealing with fairy tales in their most traditional sense – with reality.  Its foremost feature being a young girl who supposedly, living in the modern age, never sees herself in any sort of reflection ever. Is that even possible?  

Mandi Gottadolla has the perfect life. The adopted daughter of millionaire moguls, Mandi’s been sheltered from the world’s harsh realities, and has never seen pain, suffering, poverty — or even her own face! 

As a satire the writing wasn’t astonishingly new – the moments, interest points, stage directions and choreography down to the last exit, tread dangerously close to formulaic. 

Ultimately, there are no real highs or lows, no grandiose arc. In fact, the experience with this show is heavily reminiscent of clean, tween tv/chick flick melodrama – captivating, enchanting, appropriately bold in all the right places, yet skirting tenderly around the important issues, not digging too deep, so as not to offend.

“Once upon a time, in a faraway land called Manhattan, there lived a socialite named Mandi. Blonde, beautiful, and unbelievably rich, this paparazzi princess led a fairytale life. But alas! Unbeknownst to Mandi, she had been living under the spell of a terrible White lie. And her world was about to come tumbling down…”

With all that could be pointed to as “not quite”, there is something to be said for trying to create an off-handed parody that talks about identity, identity crisis and racism, jostling around inside the comic nuances of friendship, loyalty, love and self-love

Growing up (actually as well as metaphorically) is so confusing all the time.  In this tale everyone is in angst about the truth.  All for good reason.  It’s hard to know how to think, feel, act, even when you’re pretty sure about what’s right or wrong.  And when faced with the choice of accepting who you are or living in the fantasy of what others tell you, inside the realm of this coming-of-age story, Mirror Mirror the Musical does have a very real question to posit, a genuinely important idea to ruminate upon and a response that is positively essential to act out.  It just needs, however a tiny bit more work. 

Rather than pull together in a completely cohesive line, Mirror Mirror tends to float around a multitude of couched ideas and bits, all at once, so that it is sometimes hard to know exactly what is trying to be said. 

In an earlier, shorter version produced at this year’s 2015 Hollywood Fringe, it is easy to imagine this show, being a stunning hit. Lot’s of quipy lines, fewer pauses, a stunning array of costume and a happy ending for Mirror Mirror‘s leading lady.  There is zero pique in this delightfully silly story which, frankly has one of the most “kick ass” original musical scores heard in recent days sung mostly by powerhouse talent Ashley Lynette Brown who quite radiantly plays Amanda Gottadolla.

It’s been a long journey for writer/producer November Christine, in her quest to mount her first fully formed theatrical production and it has not been without success.  But what’s a little longer for the sake of (needed) tweaking this entirely appealing gem, tightening up the running time and giving it another “once over” for impact, is all I say.

Mirror, Mirror recently premiered at L.A.’s Chromolume Theatre at The Attic.