FANGIRLS is a new Australian musical written by Yve Blake and directed by Paige Rattray, currently playing in the Adelaide Festival for their national tour.
The show follows 14-year-old Edna, played by Karis Oka, through a few weeks of high school life as a teenager hopelessly in love with a celebrity – so much so that she is convinced they will meet and fall in love instantly. Her mates, Brianna (Shubshuri Kandiah), a small insecure girl who has trouble standing up for herself, and Jules (Chika Ikogwe), a child of divorce who is strong willed and striving for attention, share her love for the celebrity known as Harry (AYDEN). The global pop star character Harry is based directly on early 2010’s Harry Styles.
The casting of this show is not only stunningly diverse but also full of powerhouse performers. The belting of Ayesha Madon (Lilly) in particular was so impressive it received multiple cheers for the audience. Her momentary character of a rhythmic gymnast was hilarious, the way which she prances across the stage is something that could be watched on repeat.
Karis Oka (Edna), is undeniably an incredible talent, having been a swing in the global sensation SIX (Aus cast 2020) she really shows her star power throughout the entirety of FANGIRLS. The emotional range she displays in each song manages to both break and heal the hearts of the entire audience.
James Majoos, who plays Saltypringl, has a magnetism about them that prevents the audience doing anything but love them. The energy Majoos brings to the stage is exhilarating. Each of the characters portrayed in the show were beautifully developed and gorgeously flawed, making all of them a delight to watch.
The sound engineering by Michael Waters throughout the entire show was goose bump inducing. The balance of the sound was exquisite and felt as though audience is fully immersed in every single moment. The music itself is incredible and is full of heart-breaking originality in songs such as ‘Brave Thing’ and ‘Disgusting’. The release of the studio cast recording on April 16th is a highly anticipated by the growing fanbase of FANGIRLS.
The set design by David Fleischer is innovative, fun and simplistic. The lighting and visual effects perfectly captured the essence of every scene, making the concert thrillingly realistic. The ‘Global Fan Chorus’ that is displayed on the screens that line the back of the stage can be distracting at times but adds a wonderful fullness to the stage.
The choreography was fast, upbeat and fun, the synchronicity of the movement was enthralling and every step, especially in the opening sequence song ‘Nobody’, was perfectly timed to the beat of the music. This feat is not only achieved by the talent of the cast but also by the incredible choreography of Leonard Mickelo.
Whilst the whole show highlights what it is like to be a teenage girl, the second act displays the negative self-image pushed upon young women for the entirety of their lives. The commentary on gender discrimination amongst teenagers is spot on. Songs like ‘Disgusting’ and ‘Silly Little Girl’ provide moments for poignant accuracy giving the audience a window in to mind of teenage girls and the emotional turmoil that comes with it.
Representation matters and this show represents a group that often belittled and brushed aside; people now think that young girls who are obsessed with bands like One Direction are silly, vapid and fickle… but they forget that Elvis, Frank Sinatra and the Beatles were also originally popular with the exact kind of crowd.
This show cannot be recommended enough! The feminist message may not be for all, but it is damn sure that the show has gained a major FANGIRL in me.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Official Website: https://www.fangirlsmusical.com/
Performance Reviewed: 3rd March 2021, Wayville Showgrounds