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By Siobhan McMillan

 Huntley Street

 Directed by Janviet Benoit

 Designed by Murray Clark & Luke Taylor

 at Kings Head Theatre

 115 Upper Street Islington, London N11QN

 Call + 44 20 (0) 207 478 0160

 Tuesday – Saturday 7.00pm; Saturday 2pm

 Running time 1 hour with no intermission

 Through July 8, 2017

Shy Girl, Desirable and Dangerous

 The early evening show at this famous Off West End venue is temporary home to the shy girl, sharing by way of live social media, her tenterhooks, as she waits for her date, and waits. She stares at her mirror. ‘I want to be a sex object’ she confides to us, but being stood up is a startling new reality. By now she has broken the 4th wall, and soon she will break her mirror for informing her she is no longer the most beautiful. No! No!! No!!!

The resulting plunge into her imagination to find this new beauty coughs up a dazzling array of characters. All her alter egos are here, from the combination Wicked Witch Of The West/Baba Yaga/Cinderalla sister to the most beautiful (and hated) girl, object of her desire and envy (‘I must be a lesbian!…but I can’t be – there aren’t lesbians in fairy tales!).

Director Janviet Benoit keeps the pace constantly interesting, and there is a sense of collaboration and discovery. There is mainly a sense of a young girl indulging her most extravagant fantasies, changing costume every now and then to suit a new character. The daring cross-over from actor to character and back, leads her at one point to actually come and sit among her charmed audience, and suggest that some-one else carry on while she rests!  .

All this wit and playwrighting skill allows Miss McMillan, herself a beautiful and wondrously expressive actor, a myriad of emotions to share, without ever inviting pity or sympathy. One actually smiles through her painful and intimate moments, for there is magic in the air and a uniqueness in this fabulous performance.

Not to be missed                          

Saul Reichlin

London correspondent