Any play that opens with the Spice Girl’s ‘If you wanna be my lover‘ seems to be promising, but unfortunately the hype ends there.
Miranda is the star of the Heartbreakers radio show where she gives her listeners dating advice. She’s also a first class tease using her charm to lead on her male co-workers and has them wrapped around her little finger. When the radio mistakenly hires a misogynist who at first appears immune to Miranda’s charms, Miranda senses that both she and her show are under threat.
Though the play is based on Carlo Goldoni’s 1751 comedic masterpiece La locandiera (The Mistress of the Inn or Mirandolina), Matthew Partridge’s adaptation unfortunately falls short in this modern retelling.
The content of the show seems rather shallow without much in way of plot or character development. Neither Miranda (Joey Timmins) nor the misogynistic Dr Robert (Peter Cabrera) seem like to be the right people to dish out relationship advice, especially as neither of them seem to have much experience in the world of dating themselves. More importantly, where Dr Robert is more than willing to give up all his ridiculous ideas instantly, Miranda doesn’t seem to learn a thing throughout the course of the play.
Miranda is advertises itself as a play about gender politics, and although our gender politics have moved on leaps and bounds since the eighteenth century, some light topics are raised but rarely solved or discussed in the depth that the audience craves. At the end of the play, Timmins breaks the fourth wall to say that the play is about how no one can shut love out of their lives. Yet I felt that not one of the characters demonstrated this which made the conclusion seem superfluous.
Despite these problems with the script, Joey Timmins is fantastic at playing up to Miranda’s dual personality depending on whether she’s talking to her assistant Cider (Nina Tolleret), or her admirers and colleagues, Spencer (Robel Fox) and Andy (Michael Timney). Timmy and Fox play their parts as bumbling fools who fruitlessly vie for Miranda’s attention throughout the show.
Unfortunately Partidge’s adaptation of Goldoni’s original script, doesn’t quiet reach the mark. Despite attempts to draw the audience in, the story doesn’t seem to go anywhere or satisfy the twenty-first century craving for a politically driven gender discussion. This in turn unfortunately, affects the direction and the lack of character development and therefore barely skims the surface of this subject.
Miranda plays Barons Court Theatre until 13 August 2016. For more information and tickets, see The Off Westend website.