Set in the heart of London in the 1960’s, The Mirror Never Lies is a tale of beauty, love and scoundrel. Based on the novel The Sweet Dove Died by Barbara Pym, the show promises to transport us to a time where beauty and fashion thrive, yet the play’s themes of battling desires against the pressure of public opinion and aesthetics are just as relatable today.

Unfortunately, this piece is completely unsuitable for the performance space it’s in. The Cockpit offers a very large space in a traverse style, which means that some of the action seems extremely distanced. There is one scene in particular which features two cast members performing on a balcony directly above one of the sections of the audience, meaning that most of them had to crook their necks to see or, in some cases, they were just looking straight ahead resigned to the fact that they would miss what was happening.

The director, Joe Giuffre, also decides to avoid any detailed set, favouring simple chairs and projections of the names of scene locations and scenes from 60s London onto the back screen. Again, this doesn’t benefit the production in any way, and causes separations between scenes which interrupts the flow. If anything, it comes off as a little amateurish. The production would benefit much more from having a smaller and closer stage in the popular end-on staging with use of a set more evocative of the historical era.

As for the play, it doesn’t lend itself well to the cast’s extensive credits list. It is very clear that the cast are all extremely talented singers, but the base and blocky lyrics and words create difficulties for the actors to express three dimensional characters. It felt as though sometimes the actors had been told to “be evil” or “be bitchy”, rather than letting the words do the talking. It dampens the overall effect of the piece and makes the plot a little predictable. The music is enjoyable, offering fresh 60s undertones – although the placement of a lot of the songs seem very disjointed.

Having said this, there is one moment where Spencer O’Brien, singing his first song, brings some life to the piece. Although he breaks the fourth wall, this is forgivable due to his high energy and flirtatious behaviour with the audience. It is captivating and looks like a scene that belongs in a musical.

The Mirror Never Lies was originally performed as a concert piece, and I believe in order to give it justice, it deserves to stay as such. The talented cast are sold short through the missed connections between events, and I would be interested to see how the piece would thrive by showing its strongest features.

The Mirror Never Lies is playing at The Cockpit Theatre until November 18.