FANGIRLS is a hilarious, witty and rambunctious waterslide of emotions that will throw you headfirst into the sparkly world of 21st-century fandgirldom.
For all of my fellow (and soon to be proud) ex-fangirls, you are about to relive new depths of nostalgia. Whether you have an anthology of One Direction fanfictions hidden in the depths of Wattpad, had to endure Aussie summers in knee-length tartan school skirts, or have simply been a 14-year old at some point in time – this new production at the Belvoir is sure to dredge up some interesting memories.
We follow Edna, her friends and all the feels of their uniquely Australian experiences of being young and in love with a member of the world’s biggest boy band. Told through a mega pop party musical that can only be described as the best combination of the So Fresh album circa 2015 spliced with line after line of gritty truths. The writing will invite you into the inside joke – with its sharp dialogue, clever jokes, slower moments, and the perfect amount of tweenager lingo (some of which I’m sure you’ve mentally blanked out).
Yve Blake’s writing is hilarious. She has captured all the awkwardness, joyfulness and intensity of love and life at 14 years old all in one super fun story. But still, Blake maintains the intense adrenaline and dread that comes with watching the Ticketek loading screen on the launch day of mosh pit concert tickets.
The cast’s performance was a masterclass in characterisation, with Paige Rattray’s expert direction reminiscent of the game of constantly-clothed Twister you excelled at when changing for sixth period sport.
Played by Karis Oka, Edna’s beautifully uncoordinated dancing will transport you back to the empty bedroom concerts where you performed your heart out into that unplugged Singstar mic.
Best friends Jules (Chika Ikogwe) and Brianna (Shubshri Kandiah) portray with such authenticity the best bits, the worst bits and all the messy bits of figuring out how to do this thing called ‘friendship’ when you’re trying to figure your own stuff out too.
Co-fanfiction author and Edna’s online bestie/confidante, Saltypringl (James Majoos), will captivate your heart from their first leap on stage and shine (in addition to the luminescent costuming) all the way until curtains close.
However, the magic of FANGIRLS is that it really is a whole-cast ensemble piece. The stars bounce off of each other with the energy of a three Red-Bull sugar rush and pass on that effervescent buzz to each and every audience member in that York Theatre.
In between fast-paced action, killer catchy songs and fantastical plot developments you will laugh, cry, cry with laughter, and perhaps a little think too about the innumerable connotations attached to the word “fangirl”. As Blake mentions in her TEDxSydney talk about the research for FANGIRLS (which you can watch here), you may have only heard words like ‘hysterical’, ‘crazy’ and ‘obsessed’ being used to describe those sign wielding fanatics screaming for their favourite boyband. And somewhere in between acts, you might realise how these words are very different from the ones describing the boys in the screaming crowds at a sporting match. Then suddenly this fluffy morsel of musical theatre has brought up some real questions about how society perceives gendered expressions of unfiltered joy and excitement.
Now while this is all coming from a now proud ex-fangirl who found herself whispering ‘ooft too real’ in between hysterics, this play is for more than just people like me.
This is a musical for the school kids who get to see themselves reflected in the diverse cast shining on the Seymour Centre’s literally sparkly stage.
For those who know first-hand how strangers on the internet can be both a feed of comments, you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy or a community of people who just really get you.
For parents or older cousins or siblings of fangirls.
And above all, it’s for those looking to live and love bravely: just like a fangirl.
Now for those who claim to not really “get musicals”, I understand this might not be everyone’s cup of cordial. But I double dog dare you to buy a ticket anyway and spend the evening learning a little about this awesome world young people have created.
You’ll leave humming your new hype song, needing stitches in your sides and googling shipping costs on that silver leotard.
Belvior St Theatre’s FANGIRLS is a co-production with Queensland Theatre and Brisbane Festival, in association with Australian Theatre for Young People (ATYP), on now at the Seymour Centre until the 20 February. Time to beg mum for money for tickets available here!
Disclaimer: For those wondering, Harry’s favourite colours are orange and blue.