An icy atmosphere brings a chill inside The Arcola’s Studio One, sparked by two troubled sisters chanting rather catchy chorus lines.
On the face of it, a slight nod towards Disney’s cutesy hit movie, Frozen.
But as you fully enter The House of Mirrors and Hearts - the latest theatrical creation of Eamonn O’Dwyer and Robert Gilbert - it’s clear there’ll be no warm, fuzzy happy ending.
This is a dark, though-provoking musical, packed with raw emotion and feelings that, in certain scenes, set the spine tingling.
The songs and story tell the tale of mum Anna and her teenage daughters, Laura and Lily.
The trio is divided by grief after the unfortunate death of Anna’s husband - David - the girl’s father and mirror-maker.
While Laura (Grace Rowe) becomes shy, introvert and silent, Lily (Molly McGuire) tips the other end of the scale as a bold, brassy and attention-seeking.
Meanwhile Gillian Kirkpatrick perfectly portrays the internal troubles, strife and twisting pain of alcoholic Anna, more often than not swishing round the stage clutching a glass of red or slumped on the kitchen table.
There’s humour in her drunkenness that lifts the darkness slightly - whether it be cringe worthy attempts to seduce lodger Nathan or a smirk-provoking rhymes “You’ve had a f***** of a day, you need some intravenous chardonnay.”
“The women in this house are a disaster of their own design” its claimed, nudging the audience to question who shoulders a burden of responsibility for David’s death.
Scholar Nathan (Jamie Muscato) helps along this journey.
Bespectacled and studios - intent on delving deep into the romantic works of Alexander Thornton Grey - his inquisitiveness adds to the unease seeping through the dreary two floors.
The rousing lines of “not every song has to be sung” hints we may not find the truth behind David’s death.
But Nathan’s immersion into poem The Colour of Death gradually brings a touching warm and overdue light to Anna’s family.
This is an expert dissection of the anguish and pain felt post death.
The sombre musical score expertly adds to the drama and emotion, with poignant, strong sounds supporting fantastic acting from the five-strong cast.
This impressive production runs until August - don’t miss it.
The House of Mirrors and Hearts, The Arcola , July 2-Aug 1, Mon-Sat 7.30pm with Saturday matinee at 3pm, from £12.