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EDINBURGH 2017 - BWW Review: GIRLS, Pleasance Courtyard

EDINBURGH 2017 - BWW Review: GIRLS, Pleasance CourtyardEDINBURGH 2017 - BWW Review: GIRLS, Pleasance CourtyardCivil war has broken out. Amidst all the conflict, and surrounded by rotten corpses, three girls are living in constant fear. Leaning on one another for support, they discuss love, sex and religion. A roaring explosion shatters their equilibrium; a girl has blood on her hands whilst her friend defensively holds out a handmade knife for protection.

Drawing parallels with the 2014 Nigeria Chibok abductions (when 276 girls were kidnapped by Boko Haram), Girls follows the story of three young women who are hostages, being put to work and forced to marry. Commissioned by Talawa Theatre Company, HighTide and Soho Theatre, Girls provides a deep insight into those who are forgotten.

Theresa Ikoko's new drama is fiercely passionate. She wrote the play due to the curiosity she felt about the girls we see on the news. Ikoko's background is in criminology and she regularly works with young women affected by gang violence and youth offending.

This story of everlasting friendship is voyeuristic at its core, and powerfully resonates with what's going on in the world today. Ikoko does well to ensure that this horrifying story never becomes too overwhelming for the audience, ensuring that above all else it is one of optimism.

Despite its bleak setting the play is also very funny. There are many beautiful moments of interaction between the trio that allows the audience to forget about their dangerous situation. This well-written script is essentially a 90-minute conversation, but despite this, it is dynamic, gripping you from the first minute until the very end.

Girls is a powerful story told by three strong women. Each actor is mesmerising to watch and offers something different. One of the girls is shy, another naive and the final one is a somewhat leader figure. Heather Agyepong, Yvette Boakye and Yasmin Mwanza each give an indelibly raw performance.

Elayce Ismail's direction is just as brave as the writing. Making many bold statements, she challenges the audience to reflect on their global awareness. A play that puts humanness at its core, this gritty and fresh text is a vital addition to the industry, and the story of Girls is one that needs to be told.

Girls ran at The Pleasance Courtyard until 27 August

Photo Credit: Talawa Theatre

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