Girls by Theresa Ikoko – review
Soho Theatre

Words by: Abiola Lawal | Published: Tuesday, October 4, 2016 3:59 AM
Girls by Theresa Ikoko, credit Nobby Clark Girls by Theresa Ikoko, credit Nobby Clark

Girls held me captive, not once did my eyes leave the stage and many times all of us in the audience were united in our laughter but also in our pain and concern for these girls, who could be our friends, sisters, neighbours or just that girl you pass by on the street.

Theatre productions aim to keep their audience captivated for those few hours that we have exchanged our ticket for a slice of a playwright’s mind. The audience is meant to empathise with or even criticise the characters on stage, whilst being transported directly into the imaginary world depicted by the performance and mise en scene.


In Theresa Ikoko’s play Girls I not only empathised with the characters who have been best friends forever, but I also laughed, cried, danced and wanted to reach out to them. My mind and body were transported to the forests of Northern Nigeria where Haleema (Anita-Joy Uwajeh), Ruhab (Yvette Boakye) and Tisana (Abiola Ogunbiyi), are being held captive. Elayce Ismail’s production of this beautiful play is a brilliant depiction of the three teenage girls who have been kidnapped from their hometown and are now learning how to survive.


Each girl has her own distinct way of coping with how quickly and dramatically their lives have changed and some of these coping mechanisms will shock, anger and make the audience question what would they would do in these girls’ shoes. But it is also their friendship that must also adapt to survive in the harshest of surroundings. Uwajeh, Boakye and Ogunbiyi are individually dynamic and entertaining onstage but together their performance is a complete winner for me proving just how much #BlackGirlsRock. Their performance takes the audience to these unknown and many times forgotten parts of not only Nigeria but anywhere else in the world where the voiceless are victimised and kidnapped.


Girls by Theresa Ikoko, credit Nobby Clark Girls by Theresa Ikoko, credit Nobby Clark

In Theresa Ikoko’s play Girls I not only empathised with the characters who have been best friends forever, but I also laughed, cried, danced and wanted to reach out to them. My mind and body were transported to the forests of Northern Nigeria.

Reminding us all of the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls, Ikoko, makes the audience look within themselves and ask the realest question “Why is everyone so bloody obsessed with hashtags?” How does a hashtag help these girls onstage who give us a painfully passionate and raw insight into what some of the kidnapped girls may have been going through? Those 276 Chibok schoolgirls, who were taken forcefully in real life by the terrorist group, Boko Haram, on 14 April 2014.


Girls held me captive, not once did my eyes leave the stage and many times all of us in the audience were united in our laughter but also in our pain and concern for these girls, who could be our friends, sisters, neighbours or just that girl you pass by on the street. I recommend you go and see this play…and hashtag it #Girls.



Info: Girls is at Soho Theatre until 29 Oct 2016 | See listing




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