Girls Like That touches on many issues: that said, its funnier than you might expect
Except there is no Miss Brodie imposing her will on this group; that it’s up to the girls themselves—from preparatory class onwards—to work out their own hierarchies. And right at the bottom is Scarlett. So what happens—ironically enough, for the St Helen’s Girls, during a history lesson on the suffragettes—when a naked photo of Scarlett is leaked online? Will the “St Helen’s Girls” throw up a protective circle around her? No. Almost immediately, they’re bitching about her body, comparing breast sizes and body fat—and denouncing her as a slut deserving “everything that’s coming” to her.
A succession of historical flashbacks notwithstanding—focused on times when Scarlett’s mother, grandmother and great-grandmother stood up for women’s emancipation—the play asks why “girls have become the arseholes the boys used to be”. But then, it appears that young people’s digital lives today are just as unequal as past generations: when a photo of Russell, the boy Scarlett is assumed to have slept with, appears online, he’s admired for his muscular nakedness and the size of his cock. The old cliche continues: a man who sleeps around is a stud, a woman who does so is a slut.
Quite deliberately, Scarlett is the only one of the girls on stage that’s given a name; and, unlike the original production which necessarily restricted class numbers, here the Lyceum Youth Theatre can put up a cast of 20, crammed into the Lyceum’s smaller performance space and forming a brilliantly oppressive realisation of the mob mentality. Director/producer Rachael Esdale must be congratulated for successfully choreographing such a large cast, periodically called back to their old primary school playground rows by an ever-punctual school bell. Some notable performers notwithstanding, the strength of this production is in its near-perfect ensemble.
Girls Like That touches on many issues: that said, its funnier than you might expect, and it’s a shame that not everyone in the cast manages to effectively land the more subtle punchlines. Overall, though, this production is a welcome reminder that today’s young women have somehow become so insecure and judgemental to become their own worst allies. Boys will be boys, we’re told, but do girls really now have to be like that too?