Girls

Deeply political, magnificently performed and filled with tense action and witty dialogue, Girls manages to grip and amaze the audience with its characters and powerful message from start to finish. With so many themes to work with (love, sex and religion) it is amazing that the director managed to fit everything in, but the pieces fell into place perfectly. As the audience is plunged into this gripping writing and superb staging, there is no doubt this play will have you on the edge of your seat, emotional caught by every moment.

Bringing home many powerful messages that not only has you in tears as you leave the theatre but gets you thinking about the world out there today.

The three main girls, best friends from childhood Haleema, Ruhab and Tisana, are the only characters seen on stage. After they are kidnapped from their home village, they are forced to work in camps filled with other girls their age and we watch as they attempt to continue their lives and fight to survive in the harsh conditions. Here, all they have is each other and they do their best to try and support each other and keep their friendship together through even the roughest of times.

The strength of friendship isn’t the only theme in this play, though to me it is the most impactful. The dialogue between the girls plays around sex, love and religion as well, each with their own opinions about the matters that are relevant to most people’s lives. The casualness with which these themes are brought up just adds to the realism that makes this play so engaging.

Above everything else though, it is the writing in this play that really brings it up that extra notch. Theresa Ikoko should be proud of herself for creating these three incredibly strong yet believable characters and having them react in such realistic ways to the harsh situations they are forced into. The script is mostly dialogue, but with such emotive characters and the brilliant acting seen here that’s all that is needed. The actors work at bringing to life these characters and their hardships is flawless and there’s not one moment when it feels like a character’s react is unbelievable in the circumstances.

Still, without the light and sound effects the play wouldn’t nearly have as much of an impact as it does. Different lighting effects are used depending whether it’s night or day, by fire light or in sunshine, and at times only give us two seconds to assess a scene before it moves on. The music overhead comes out of loudspeakers, full of bass that adds to the excitement of the tenser moments.

For those looking for something a little different this Fringe but still touchingly political, this is the play to see. This play is all about the impact. The ensemble of strong writing, acting and staging achieves this with perfect, bringing home many powerful messages that not only has you in tears as you leave the theatre but gets you thinking about the world out there today.

Reviews by Megan Atkins

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★★★★★
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Performances

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The Blurb

Three girls. Best friends forever. All the big issues: love, sex and religion... But when they're kidnapped from home, their world is turned upside down. The only hashtag that matters now is survival. A funny and fiercely passionate new play about enduring friendship, the power of imagination and the stories behind the headlines that quickly become yesterday's news. Written by the Alfred Fagon and joint George Devine Award-winner Theresa Ikoko. Shortlisted for Soho Theatre's Verity Bargate Award. Part of the British Council 2017 Showcase. 'Scorchingly intelligent and as powerful as a gut punch' **** (Times).

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