Scotland reviews 27 items
The Glasgow Girls at the King's Theatre, Edinburgh
As soon as I saw Cora Bissett was involved in this production I knew we were in for a treat! I’m still enthusing about her autobiographical play, What Girls Are Made Of, which was a Fringe First winner last year. And I can’t wait to see it again when it tours in the Spring.

This immensely talented director, actor and songwriter is associate director of the show’s producers, Raw Material, and came up with the idea of this musical, for which she composer songs and also directed.

And what an important piece of theatre it is. Although it is set in 2005, it is more relevant today than ever, personalising as it does the plight of asylum seekers.

The Glasgow Girls is based on a true story… of a group of schoolgirls from Drumchapel (where Billy Connolly also grew up so it has a lot to be proud of!) who fought the State and won, when one of their number was threatened with deportation.

This show can’t fail to inspire. What with Bissett’s astounding energy and insight and the girls’ own story, it’s not only a powerful tribute to friendship but, hopefully, it will bring home to many more people the horrors ordinary human beings like you and me have to face when they are forced to leave their homelands, usually because of war. I just hope a similar show about the homeless is in the offing!

All the actors playing the girls have lots of experience and yet they look, and play, like schoolgirls, so all credit to their performances. This is an ensemble piece but I particularly like Stephanie McGregor’s cheeky, endearing Polish character Ewelina, and Patricia Panther’s smile lights up the stage, in sharp contrast to her role as an, albeit tuneful but chilling, UK Borders Agency immigration officer.

A Glasgow-set piece, however harrowing, can never be without that city's particular brand of humour. I don’t know if it’s a tribute to the current trend of gender fluidity or having to keep the cost down of cast members, but Terry Neason’s portrayal of the headmaster is a hoot, though not nearly as funny as Noreen. A neighbour who keeps watch for the dawn raids which continuously threaten the refugees, she finds herself in a sad situation and yet Neason’s Glasgow wifie, addressing the audience directly about how she never wanted to be in a musical in the first place, is hilarious as well as heart-warming.

The only negative I have is that I didn’t always hear the dialogue, but then that could be down to me being a Sassenach!

I left the theatre with an overall picture of The Glasgow Girls as a huge, beautiful heart, bursting with love for fellow human beings. Oh, that it was true!

As a footnote, I love the way Edinburgh’s three main theatres have come together for this production: Bissett has connections with the Traverse, David Greig, who wrote the book, is artistic director of the Lyceum, and it is being staged in the King’s!

The Glasgow Girls is at the King’s Theatre, Edinburgh until Jan 26.
The tour then continues:
Jan 30-Feb 3: Perth Theatre
Feb 7-9: Eden Court Theatre, Inverness
Feb 13-16: Abbey Theatre, Dublin