White Girls

If you’re looking for a thought-provoking Fringe Show, White Girls, by Madeleine Accalia, could fit the bill. A play produced by the Laughing Mirror Theatre Company, White Girls opens a Pandora’s box of self-reflection about immigration, and our personal responsibility for our fellow human beings, that resonates long after you’ve left the show. The set begins with two, fresh-faced young women greeting us and introducing themselves as Eve and Leah – post-degree 'gap yahs’ who, they tell us, had decided to do something meaningful. They inform us that the tale they’re about to impart is true - mainly. And the 70 or so of us packed into this sold-out and sweaty Theatre Box venue are immediately hooked.

This is a powerful coming of age tale, but it’s as much about the audience as it is about these two young women.

Suddenly we’re with them on the train to Calais, as the girls played by Francesca Bloor and Valerie Smith pull-off perfectly synced wheel-turning choreography. Arriving at the detention centre, they are greeted with shocking human degradation and are thrown into eight hour shifts of pan washing and personal hygiene kit collation. Life - but not as we know it - is brutally and pictorially described by the girls. Leah confirms that feminism is now a luxury, here the fight for a breath is the first thing on everyone’s lips. This is the jungle and it’s all about survival. But this ugliness is made bearable for audience consumption as Accalia perfectly balances it with the entertaining delivery and witty asides from the two girls: swooning over an Aussie volunteer and laughing about Leah’s helicopter mum, all done using minimal props plucked from a coat stand at the back of the stage. Eve and Leah then introduce us to their 12-year-old friend, Jamal, a refugee who hangs around them (appealingly played by Smith) and who sees England as his path to salvation. This endearing narrative draw us in closer, as tragedy slowly begins to unfurl.

But the real tragedy of this tragicomedy is that this situation is a tragedy for all: the truck driver who just wants to get home, the misguided volunteers who think they’re making a difference, but most of all for the refugees who are held like animals behind the bars and amongst the stinking, festering rubbish heaps of their French zoo. It’s an ugliness too horrible to stomach and Leah and Eve ultimately can’t - their abandonment being representative of our own. Life is so much more pleasant when we can ignore the news reports (entertainingly portrayed by the girls) and console ourselves that 20 miles plus of sea separates this human suffering from our own comfortable existence.

With White Girls, Accalia seeks to remind us of this inconvenient truth and Bloor and Smith are totally convincing as the two ‘gap yahs’. These actors adroitly pull-off the naivety and simplicity of youth, framed with a heartfelt integrity. This is a powerful coming of age tale, but it’s as much about the audience as it is about these two young women. Accalia is seeking to convince us all to grow up and face harsh realities. It’s a sobering education but an entirely worthwhile one.

Reviews by Jane Beeston

Brighton Open Air Theatre

Crucible

★★★★
Hendersons Vegan Restaurant

Viva Las Vegans

★★★★
Bourbon Bar

Door-to-Door Poetry

★★★★★
Underbelly, Bristo Square

Shit-Faced Shakespeare: Hamlet

★★★
Laughing Horse @ Espionage

LoveHard: Tales from the Elsewhere

★★★★★
Gilded Balloon Teviot

Card Ninja

★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

In an impulsive act of rebellion against their parents, best friends and recent Drama grads Leah and Eve catch a ferry to Calais to volunteer at the famous refugee camp, 'the Jungle', for the weekend. Two days turns into 10 months, Topshop jeans turn to orange hi-vis, and eventually, Leah and Eve return home to tell you their story in the way they know best: a fast-paced farcical drama. There's Australian accents, Billy Bragg and costume changes aplenty. 'White Girls' is a political comedy drama depicting the complexities of White volunTourism and the refugee crisis.

Most Popular See More

The Book of Mormon

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

SIX

From £39.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Phantom of the Opera

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Frozen the Musical

From £36.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Wicked

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Matilda the Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets