The difference, however, between Nick Gill’s Mirror Teeth and the many other plays that attempt a commentary on modern-day life, is that it actually achieves satirical accuracy, right down to the almost audible capitalisation of the institutions of Our Country.
Mirror Teeth is so blunt, and yet at times so obscure, it leaves the audience reeling slightly even as they applaud the rising of the house lights. It is biting without being overly-facetious, it is complex but not simply for the sake of being so.
This morality satire opens with an introduction to the Jones – an 'every family’ offering each other the usual banalities of the day. Yet instead of expected bland words there are truthful, racism, sex-filled statements offered in a tone usually reserved for polite conversation.
It soon transpires that all is not perfect in the Jones household when the brother returns from The University to a sexually frustrated sister (performed with brazen enthusiasm by Louise Collins) and her new black boyfriend Kwesi (played with puppyish endearment by Jotham Annan). Add to this the news that the father is a sort of low-level arms dealer, selling guns to the very “ethnic youths” he claims to be scared of on his own streets, making it palatable to himself and those around him through questionable moral fudging.
They are the small-minded ‘English’, able to uproot themselves and supplant the entirety of their routines and prejudices into another country and culture entirely unbroken when the scene is transposed to the Middle East. Soon after it all goes a little An Inspector Calls with a disturbingly sexual twist.
What a marvelous cast. From David Verrey’s self-important Pater to Catherine Skinner’s hilariously xenophobic housewife with her awkward sexual fantasies, along with Jamie Baughan’s gently confused Jamie, and Jotham Annan and Louise Collins’ excellently doubled parts, they make watching Mirror Teeth a delight from beginning to end.
- Laura Tosney