In our current political climate, amongst Brexit parliamentary debates and the longest US Government shutdown in history, a musical about rights for asylum seekers could not be more relevant. This tale about seven schoolgirls from working class areas in Glasgow and their fight for their friends’ right to not be deported is uplifting, heartwarming, and most of all, hopeful.
Set in the mid-2000s, the show tells a tale of prejudices that unfortunately are all too familiar in recent years, all against a backdrop of global music and hip-hop choreography. Based on a true story of immigration control raids in Glasgow, the girls take their activism to unforeseen heights through determination, and loyalty.
The show shouts the message of community loud and clear through their talented cast of nine, with multiroling done by Terry Neason and Callum Cuthbertson for teachers, parents, and other characters who help the girls on their activist journey. The girls’ school teacher Mr Givern (Cuthbertson) is reluctantly convinced to teach English as a second language. He becomes embroiled in their journey to stop their friend Agnesa from being returned to Kosovo which has been declared ‘safe’ by the UK government.
Neason’s character Noreen appears as a neighbour in one of the tower blocks who assists the girls by watching out for immigration vans in a desperate attempt to save members of their community. Her quick wit was a personal highlight of the second half.
As an ensemble, the show works perfectly. The multiroling is spectacular and the members embody the unity that the show is about. Alongside the love that the characters clearly have for each other, the show has moments of hilarity, wit and poignancy keeping the pace fast and the show engaging. Although the girls are of course a collective, they all have their individual stories and that individuality is celebrated in this show.
The show also makes outstanding use of meta-theatrical humour alongside local references to ensure a genuine sense of community throughout the piece.
This show is truly outstanding. It is uplifting and heartwarming in this hugely politically charged time. ‘Glasgow Girls’ is more relevant than ever before in 2019, and watching it made me so proud to live in Scotland.
‘Glasgow Girls’ has toured the UK previously and was a hit success in Edinburgh at the Festival Fringe 2016. It is now touring Scotland over the next few weeks and also stopping in Dublin.
PHOTO: Capital Theatres