Skip to main content

Glasgow Girls

Citizens Theatre, Glasgow
4 stars `
When a group of teenage asylum seekers and their pals took on a system 
that sanctioned dawn raids that resulted in incarceration and 
deportation, they not only shamed the politicians who allowed such 
atrocities to happen. They also united a working class community and 
changed lives forever. The fact that this true story reimagined here as 
a large-scale musical happened less than a decade ago on the streets of 
Glasgow is an even more disgraceful pointer to how human rights are 
casually breached on our own doorstep.

Cora Bissett’s production for the Citizens, National Theatre of 
Scotland and a host of other partners may sucker-punch the audience 
with a knowingly schmaltzy if slightly too self-referential feel-good 
opening. The emotional impact of the show, however, as conceived by 
director Cora Bissett with writer David Greig and composers Soom T, 
Patricia Panther and the Kielty Brothers under the musical direction of 
Hilary Brooks, is undeniable.

Not all of the first half grabs you by the throat as it should, with 
only Panther’s moody vocal as a police-woman having volume and oomph 
enough to fully connect. The second half is a different story, and from 
a chilling out-front re-enactment of how one family are hauled off to 
the airport onwards, the last third of the show makes for a 
devastatingly of-the-moment piece of political theatre.

What the play lacks in sophistication, it makes up for in heart, and 
never forgets for a second that it’s dealing with real lives. This is 
brought home even more when the real Glasgow girls join the fantastic 
all-singing, all-dancing cast onstage for a curtain-call that’s both 
celebration and call to arms.

The Herald, November 5th 2012



Popular posts from this blog

The Honourable K.W. Harman: Ltd Ink Corporation

31 Bath Road, Leith Docks, March 17th-20th

In a monumental shipping container down by Leith Docks, a Sex Pistols tribute band is playing Anarchy in the U.K.. on a stage set up in the middle of the room. Either side, various constructions have been built in such a way so viewers can window shop as they promenade from one end of the room to the next, with the holy grail of a bar at either end.

Inbetween, there’s a confession booth and a mock-up of a private detective’s office with assorted documentation of real-life surveillance pinned to the walls. Two people seem to be having a conversation in public as if they're on a chat show. An assault course of smashed windows are perched on the floor like collateral damage of post-chucking out time target practice. A display of distinctively lettered signs originally created by a homeless man in search of a bed for the night are clumped together on placards that seem to be marking out territory or else finding comfort in being together. Opp…

The Maids

Dundee Rep

Two sisters sit in glass cases either side of the stage at the start of Eve Jamieson's production of Jean Genet's nasty little study of warped aspiration and abuse of power. Bathed in red light, the women look like artefacts in some cheap thrill waxworks horror-show, or else exhibits in a human zoo. Either way, they are both trapped, immortalised in a freak-show possibly of their own making.

Once the sisters come to life and drape themselves in the sumptuous bedroom of their absent mistress, they raid her bulging wardrobe to try on otherwise untouchable glad-rags and jewellery. As they do, the grotesque parody of the high-life they aspire to turns uglier by the second. When the Mistress returns, as played with daring abandon by Emily Winter as a glamour-chasing narcissist who gets her kicks from drooling over the criminal classes, you can't really blame the sisters for their fantasy of killing her.

Slabs of sound slice the air to punctuate each scene of Mart…


Tramway, Glasgow until July 2nd
Four stars

In the dead of night, the audience are split in two and led under-cover into lamp-lit tented structures. Inside, what look like peasant women on the run lead us down a ramp and into a large circular pod. It feels part cathedral, part space-ship, and to come blinking into the light of such a fantastical structure after stumbling in the dark disorientates and overwhelms. Sat around the pod as if awaiting prayers to begin, we watch as performers Nerea Bello and Judith Williams incant mournfully on either side of the room. Their keening chorales embark on a voyage of their own, twisting around each other by way of the international language of singing. As if in sympathy, the walls wail and whisper, before starting to move as those on either side of the pod are left stranded, a gulf between them.

This international co-commission between Glasgow Life and the Merchant City Festival, Sydney Harbour Foreshaw Authority in Australia and Urbane Kienste …