Kidnapped pals Tisana, Ruhab and Haleema live in a deadly jihadi-controlled world that is thousands of miles away from the privileged New York of Lena Dunham and co. But rising star Theresa Ikoko’s short play lends them a voice that is just as funny and biting as the other ‘Girls’, and has far fewer opportunities to be heard.
Ikoko, who cut her teeth in Hackney, is also a graduate of the writers programme at veteran UK black theatre group Talawa. She’s written a scorcher here.
Despite the fact ‘Girls’ has hoovered up various prestigious new writing awards, this is the first chance London audiences have to see it. It’s a very tough subject – these girls deal with kidnap, rape, escape and the pros and cons of pretending to be Muslim, along with the question of whether they’ll ever find out what’s going on with Beyoncé or the Kardashians again. But it’s put together with energy, flair and a teen spirit that would strike a chord anywhere.
The young cast are all girls to watch, in every sense, bringing tremendous gusto and a real rapport which keep you bouncing along right up to the inevitably bitter end. It’s not flawless (what is?), but it’s clever, audacious, entertaining and full of promise.