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Review Roundup: What Did Critics Think of SCHOOL GIRLS; OR, THE AFRICAN MEAN GIRLS PLAY at Round House Theatre?

Review Roundup: What Did Critics Think of SCHOOL GIRLS; OR, THE AFRICAN MEAN GIRLS PLAY at Round House Theatre?

School Girls; or, The African Mean Girls Play recently opened at Round House Theatre. Find out what the critics had to say!

"Here she is, Miss Ghana..." Pretty, popular Paulina longs to hear those words, and she'll do whatever it takes to seize the crown. But the queen bee of the Aburi Girls Boarding School didn't count on her reign being threatened. Ericka arrives from America and immediately challenges the ruling class with Western sensibilities and imported beauty products. With hilarity and insight, Jocelyn Bioh's award-winning comedy dissects how "mean girls" are created-and cured. Fresh off two sold-out, extended Off-Broadway runs, this "ferociously entertaining morality tale" (Hollywood Reporter) is sure to strike a chord with anyone, anywhere, who has ever been a teenage girl, raised a teenage girl, or met a teenage girl.

Read the reviews for Round House's production below!


Roger Catlin, BroadwayWorld: Each of them may be wearing identical school uniforms, but in Nicole A. Watson's direction, they each flourish into their own personalities, particularly Jade Jones' proud Nana, Debora Crabbe and Miriam Temidayo Akibu's comic cousins, and Awa Sal Secka's skeptical Ama.

Peter Marks, The Washington Post: Interlaced throughout "School Girls" is a note of poignancy: for these girls, the pageant is not an example of female exploitation or marker of shabby Western values. In a developing country, it seems, it's one of the few sure ways up and out. To this aspirational idea, Bioh adds the divisive issue of how beauty is perceived in a black society. The resentments that boil over in the play reflect some of the distorted priorities that white standards for physical perfection have imposed on the rest of the world. Not that Ericka, who's moved to Ghana from Ohio, does not understand racial injustice: being biracial in America left scars for her as well.

Ramona Harper, DC Metro Theater Arts: Bioh's play is not just about the pratfalls and pitfalls of being a teenage girl struggling for social acceptance. It tiptoes into the universality of all "isms" which judge another based on brittle exterior standards of worthiness. The issues of colorism and vestiges of colonialism that judge dark skin as undesirable should spark a deeper conversation.

Kelly McCorkendale, DC Theatre Scene: School Girls; or, the Africa Mean Girls Play is the perfect play. Good laughs arriving at clipped speed. Lessons on culture differences. Searing commentary on how color has shaped, and continues to shape, global participation. Pop culture galore (Bobby Brown! Whitney Houston!). A set design that features the blue paint found on buildings throughout multiple African nations. The cast to end all casts. Remarkable writing and directing by Nicole A. Watson. Bravo. And slow clap. What a jubilant, joyous, one-of-a-kind show.

André Hereford, Metro Weekly: Nicole A. Watson's staging often overshoots the satirical target, though, with broad flourishes designed to punch every laugh-line and wring gasps from every insult. Still, the cast gels just fine playing in that sitcom rhythm, mining humor and pathos from the teen beauty pageant rivalry revolving around popular girl Paulina (Kashayna Johnson) and new girl Ericka (Claire Saunders).

Photo Credit: C. Stanley

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