Glasgow Girls is a heartwarming musical adaptation of the real-life story of how a group of girls from Drumchapel High in Glasgow fought the deportations of asylum seekers in 2005.
Carried on the shoulders of some very confident performers and gorgeous climbing frame set design, the sometimes strained writing and over the top musical numbers don’t detract from the impact of the show overall as an homage to the young campaigners, the city and its communities.
It feels uncomfortable to watch the almost glamorised immigration officers as they dance to spikey electronic numbers, and while the show’s juxtaposition of racist radio phone-in participants with welcoming working class communities is a necessary part of its exploration of the attitudes which have strengthened the very acts the Glasgow Girls try to fight, it’s painful to hear them aired as part of a feel-good musical nonetheless.
On occasion, David Greig’s writing strays into hackneyed territory, with jokes about Scottish stereotypes, laboured plot development and knowing references to the fourth wall making parts of the musical quite jarring.
At times, it does feel strange to watch a show about a monumental and difficult series of events set within such a jovial, over-theatrical frame. Yet the Glasgow Girls’ story, both of their wins and their losses as they fight for their friends and neighbours’ right to remain in the UK, is an inspiring and sadly relevant one which the musical does justice to. The show is both fun and educational without either getting too bogged down in the details or leaving out important facts.
The Girls all give energetic performances accompanied by slick choreography, aided by a sparkling chemistry between the entire cast. You will definitely leave feeling entertained and ready to try and change the world.