BWW Review: THE GLASGOW GIRLS at The Abbey Theatre
The Power of Our Youth
Never underestimate the power of our youth. In this case the united voice of 7 exceptional high-school girls: Amal Azuddin, Emma Clifford, Jennifer McCarron, Agnesa Murselaj, Roza Salih, Ewelina Siwak and Toni-Lee Henderson, aka: The Glasgow Girls.
This is an enjoyable musical about teen activists, fighting for the rights of asylum seekers in their school and community in Glasgow. It features conscientious and gutsy neighbours who stick out their necks to protect cherished friends and a perceptive teacher who recognises and nurtures the fires of justice in his pupils.
The Glasgow Girls' parliamentary appeal captured local and national attention in the UK and now theatre, big screen and television are introducing the story to a broader international audience.
Writer David Greig and director / composer Cora Bissett have done a nice job using this inspiring story to highlight a widespread global issue that needs to be urgently addressed.
I got the distinct impression from the cast how significant it was for them to accurately recount these events and felt they honored the people they were portraying with their performances.
The set was cleverly constructed: industrial scaffolding licked with cheerful colours representing school, home, playground, and captivity. The diverse cast shifted capably between multiple roles and accents. Callum Cuthbertson was a distinct stand out in his nuanced role as teacher Euan Girvan. The choreography was sharp and vigorous and the multicultural music, uplifting and provoking.
More than ever before, history is being shaped by our youth. An increasing number of global movements are being initiated by school and college level students with a strong moral compass, compassion, and tenacity. The Parkland students harnessed their terror and horror to inform and educate the public and lawmakers to prevent future injustices. The Model United Nations is a platform for our youth to debate contemporary international issues. Teenagers are stepping up to invent ingenious models to counter global warming.
I may be biased, but nothing surpasses musical theater in evoking emotional reactions. The winning combination of dance, song and drama is potent. The Glasgow Girls was no exception, and evoked several of my favorite musicals: the solidarity of small town Billy Elliot, the lone fiddler from Fiddler on the Roof, the girl power of Legally Blond, the rapping of Hamilton, and the power of united community in Come From Away.
Watch this show, read the story, and decide if you'd prefer to sit on the fence or contribute to a positive change.