Glasgow Girls Review by Katie Fegan, 17
Foreword by Kirsten McCrossan (founder of Love Drama). Cora Bissett’s Glasgow Girls from The National Theatre of Scotlandhas had a big effect on Love Drama. I am a massive fan of the show and went twice in the last Glasgow run. I was delighted when I heard it was back again and that there was a suitable date to take the Love Drama Musselburgh 12-16 group over.Love Drama Facebook post from March 1 before we went: Why am I so excited and passionate about taking my senior group to see Glasgow Girls by National Theatre of Scotland? This production embodies everything we stand for at Love Drama. The themes of friendship, fighting for what you believe in and seeing no limitations are electric. Not only that, but the production is fun, exciting, funny, thought-provoking, experimental and not pretentious in any way. Also – the techniques and conventions used within the show are inspiring and inventive. The performers are buzzing and will be yet another source of inspiration. Cannae wait! Kirsten. Love Drama members Katie and Rosie could not make our March 1 trip; so went the following week with their boyfriends and here is our extremely talented Katie’s review…
It is evident that the cast did not just want to put on a show, but really cared about the story they were telling and the message they wanted to put across.
Katie Fegan, 17.
By now I’m sure you will have seen that the Love Drama 12-16 group took a trip to see the National Theatre of Scotland’s production of Glasgow Girls on the 1st of March and had an amazing time…well I wasn’t there. I was invited to come along but was unable to make it, but that didn’t stop me going. I was persuaded by Kirsten to buy tickets of my own, and my lovely boyfriend Eoghan offered (was forced) to come with me. This then turned into a ‘double date’, as 12-16 member, Rosie, was also unable to make it on the 1st, so came with us accompanied by her boyfriend, Alex. We attended the matinee performance on the 8th of March, and the performance was truly astonishing.Firstly, I have to really commend the cast for having to replace a missing member, and carrying off this transition without panic or fuss. Actress Juliana Yazbeck sustained an injury and so was unable to play the part of Roza, so this role was played by stand-in Kim Shepherd. She did have to use a script throughout the show, but this was completely overlooked by her talent. Shepherd portrayed the role beautifully, and her singing was impeccable. To be able to come into a role that isn’t fully known to you takes courage and a lot of talent, and Shepherd certainly had both of these qualities. The story of Glasgow Girls is based on true events that occurred in 2005 in Drumchapel. A group of friends of all different races are depicted and described to the audience, all of them very different yet holding a strong friendship. Four of the girls come from families of asylum seekers, and one of the girls, Agnesa, a Roma girl from Kosovo, is threatened by deportation. Her friends have to fight in order to gain rights and equality for both their friend all asylum seekers living in the country. Although this musical can be comical and light hearted, the message behind it is not something to be taken lightly.
The narrative style of this musical is rather interesting. The characters take it in turns to explain what is happening throughout the story, and also delve more into the mindset of each character. This is particularly relevant during the section in which the girls are both angered and extremely saddened by the deportation of an asylum seeking family, and use both movement and monologue to describe the stages and growing anxiety of deportation. The characters also ‘break down the fourth wall’ as it were, by fully acknowledging they are part of a musical. The character of Noreen was one the first to do this, by saying she “never wanted to be part of a musical”, which made her character stand out as comic relief from the moment she was introduced.
The musical definitely had more than its fair share of hilarious moments! Callum Cuthbertson, Myra McFadyn and Karen Fiswick were probably the stand out comedic actors, not that that means that the others weren’t at all funny. Callum Cuthbertson portrays a teacher with a higher ambition of being a rock star, but that’s not what had the audience nearly rolling on the floor laughing! He also portrays the character of a politician, but a politician dressed in a sparkly coat singing like Elvis! I must admit that during the solo song, I Have a Dream, I was so distracted by his dancing and sparkles that I was too busy laughing to hear the actual lyrics of the song. Myra McFadyn’s roles all made the audience laugh uncontrollably, from the ‘near deaf’ principle to the kind old lady next door. From poking fun at our football team to random chatter about how ‘things were better in my day’, her character, Noreen, had me clapping and cheering her on during her final bow (literally I was yelling “go on Noreen” whilst other people looked at me confused). Karen Fiswick played the character of Jennifer, a typical Scottish teenager who didn’t like to get out of bed and was convinced she had ninja abilities. She also acts as a Member of Parliament, and the accent used had me in stitches.
One must not forget that behind the comedy lies some serious tragedy:
How do you explain to a wee boy in pain, you’re just a wee boy in a big boy’s game?
This lyric comes from Noreen’s solo song It’s No a Wean’s Choice, and this lyric really stuck with me throughout the show. It really hit home that children shouldn’t be suffering throughout the battle for citizenship, and that they are still being mistreated. The various roles of the actor Patricia Panther also caught my attention. Her roles as the lead immigration officer and opposing politician showed the opposing and, frankly, untrue views of asylum seekers in Scotland (as Noreen pointed out, “from the Daily Mail”). Callum Cuthberston’s character of Mr Girvan points out that this shouldn’t be treated as any ordinary fictional musical. In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy finds her way home and wakes up from a dream and realises the true meaning of family values. A happy ending! In Guys and Dolls everyone gets married and is merry. A happy ending! This musical is based on real life, and real life doesn’t always have a happy ending. But, we can still claim victory and change the minds of a few people.
What really brought me to tears was an announcement made at the end of the show. The 8th of March is International Women’s Day, and Karen Fishwick made a passionate independent speech on the importance of equality in developing countries. This speech moved cast member Amaka Okafor (who plays Amal) to tears, which also turned on my water works. It is evident that the cast did not just want to put on a show, but really cared about the story they were telling and the message they wanted to put across.
Anyone that cares about the right of his or her fellow citizens is a Glasgow Girl! Anyone that cares about the well being of asylum seekers is a Glasgow Girl! That’s what I learned today, that it is possible to make a difference. Segregation and racism are things that we, as a nation, should not stand for, and even if the world cannot be changed by petitions or lobbying, even changing the mind of one individual can make everything worthwhile.End of review.
Katie and her fellow members of Love Drama have now been involved in five mini productions for National Theatre of Scotland’s Five Minute Theatre. We have loved every minute of being involved and our involvement has led to all-sorts of opportunities for the group including making a music video, being invited to perform at The Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, being interviewed for Young Scot, modelling for a flyer on leaving school, making an animation and our bloggers being published on other blog sites – get involved – who knows where it may lead you!
Here is the trailer featuring our very own Love Drama James!