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Armchair Reviewers Club - Round up of Week 14 (Girls Like That)

Hello, it’s time for another week of Armchair Reviewers! This week’s production was Girls Like That by Synergy Theatre.

Established in 2000, Synergy Theatre works towards rehabilitation and resettlement with prisoners, ex-prisoners and young people at risk of offending through theatre and related activities.

Girls Like That was recorded in November 2014 at the Unicorn Theatre and won ‘Best Play for Young Audiences’ at the Writers Guild Awards in 2015. It tells the story of 5 teenage girls as they navigate secondary school, insecurities, friendship and gender inequality. Let’s see what our Armchair Reviewers had to say…

This is a production that I think should be seen by every teenager - a hard hitting and often uncomfortable look into the world of 21st century teenagers who have access to the world at their fingertips. This blackbox style production only featured 6 chairs and 6 performers, allowing us to really focus on each performer in the small studio space. Indeed, I would actually have preferred them to have gone one step further and removed the chairs altogether; I felt sometimes they acted as more of a hindrance than a benefit, especially during scene transitions and would have potentially encouraged the production to create each space in a more interesting way.

I felt the lighting design, albeit limited in what I assume is a small space. Scenes like the corridor, I’d have like to have seen more, as it was really effective when it was used. The performances themselves were all enjoyable. I got a huge sense of the unity between the characters when they were the younger versions of themselves, all the more tragic as we see them become more isolated as they grow up and begin to turn on their friend.

It is clear that this is a play that highlights women, and how through the last century, or 4 generations of one family, women are facing the same challenges today, albeit in a different form. It’s a poignant note that is raised towards the end of the piece, whether to be pessimistic or optimistic of where we are as a culture, and I think it doesn’t preach too much one way or the other. The piece points it out, for us to reflect on. However it does end on a powerful note, that when we are united, we are unbeatable. Dan via email

We are unbeatable, thanks Dan! Here’s what another reviewer thought of the production…

Theatre in its purest sense provokes a response, whilst watching Girls Like That you ask why isn’t it the same for boys? When a naked photo of Scarlett gets sent round at St Helens School it reveals the social dynamics amongst a group of her close friends. Anxieties about self-image and sexuality are brought to the fore.

This was electrifying. From the first scene to the last it was a pulsating 75 minutes.

Why isn’t it the same for boys? Why isn’t discussing sex fair and equal for girls and boys? Why is it that we hold people who identify as female to different standards to those who identify as male? Theatre can approach these topics with an honesty and directness that confronts them and leads to a discussion far beyond the confines of the theatre.Marcus via email

And finally…

I liked the energetic performances and basic staging and the way the characters became so alive and believable as the play progressed. Very challenging issues faced by young people — of peer pressure, bullying and feminism were addressed including an exploration of how women can end up shoring up and being complicit with sexist double standards in a patriarchal system. I thought the excursions into history and how the girls described parents, teachers and boys insightful, and was very pleased not to have the bleak ending I was dreading when Scarlett was shown to have successfully transitioned into adulthood. An awful lot was covered in the very short running time — the time just flew by! Sally via email

Thank you so much for all of your contributions to this week’s round-up. For next week, we’ll be looking at Mood Music from the Old Vic’s archive. In a London recording studio, Cat, a young songwriter, her producer Bernard, their lawyers and psychotherapists go to battle over who owns a hit song. Amidst a gathering storm of bitter complaints and recriminations Cat and Bernard inflict a devastating toll on each other. You will be able to steam Mood Music from 7pm on Wednesday 8 July.

As always make sure to share your thoughts, either via social media or by e-mailing [email protected]

Take Care Reviewers!

Rebecca Smith

Early Years and Education Officer