Digital review: Silent Reflections

Silent Reflections is a curious show that presents itself as a “clown noir cabaret” exploring women’s insecurities and societal pressures through the medium of silent film.

Three female clowns (Francesca Chilcote, Dory Sibley, Echo Sibley) act out their scenes in exaggerated pantomime style, evoking memories of the great ladies of the movies before they could talk.

As a piece of experinental performance, Silent Reflections intrigues and is both amusing and provocative; however, both clown and silent screen actor are defined not just by mime but also by facial expression.

Without the ‘close-up’, that aspect is lacking, which ratchets down the intensity of the message- however, with sex, fashion, self-worth, motherhood, and a mocking look at masculinity all on the menu, Silent Reflections always entertains, and I found the show very watchable.

Promotional image for Silent Reflections

The masquerade of the female experience is well-conveyed in the performance of the Women from Mars Theatre, especially the snatches of music and silence, which are creatively burlesqued.

Figures are left alone to react with the audience; scenes are played out in grotesque comedy or gratuitous flapper dance.

This is a silent film which is slightly “off”, just as the plight of women has veen throughout the decades, no matter what medical, political, or societal advances they have been offered.

An absurdist piece that meshes many ideas in a span of less than an hour, Silent Reflections has excellent sound design and endless inspiration.

For silent film fans, feminists, and those who love the unusual and curious, this was one of the highlights of the National Women’s Theatre Festival for me.