BWW Review: GLASGOW GIRLS, Kings Theatre, Glasgow
Glasgow Girls is a musical based upon the true story of seven Drumchapel teenagers who inspired their community to band together to stop their friends being removed from Glasgow by the Home Office.
In 1999, asylum seeking families were placed in the outskirts of Glasgow. They integrated well into the local community and were quickly accepted by their neighbours. After the families have been living in Glasgow for five years, they are told their applications for asylum has been refused and they will be deported. The girls come into school one morning and find their friend gone so they start a campaign to have the decision overturned and to get Agnesa home to Glasgow.
Glasgow Girls is a high-energy show that depicts the passion and determination of these young girls and their teacher Mr Girvan. Callum Cuthbertson as Mr Girvan is a definite highlight of the production. He plays various characters throughout including fathers of the girls and a particular standout turn as First Minister Jack McConnell.
As well as the teenagers, we hear from Noreen (Terry Neason) who lives in the high rise flats. Although initially unsure about her new neighbours, she now wakes up at 5am to watch for the immigration fans coming over the hill to warn her friends. Noreen's story is particularly powerful and her song is undoubtedly the most emotive in the show.
While this story stands very much on the side of the Glasgow Girls, there is a counter argument represented. Not everybody agrees that these families should be allowed to stay but for every ignorant remark ("they're taking our jobs") there are facts to contradict it.
Lizzie Powell's lighting design gives maximum effect, particularly during the raid scenes. A flashing light and banging noise represents the door being kicked in as part of the dawn raids and these scenes are an uncomfortable watch.
Glasgow Girls has often been cited as one of the most important British musicals of the last decade and it is easy to see why. This show is informative, heart-breaking and makes for essential viewing as it seems more relevant than ever just now. While the musical has been performed at the Fringe and in other small theatres it hasn't lost any of its raw energy with the move to a larger stage like the King's Theatre.
Glasgow Girls is at the King's Theatre in Glasgow until Saturday 19th January and then on tour around Scotland.
Photo credit: Miheala Bodlovic