Review by: Paul Towers, 09 June 2016
The Diary of a Hounslow Girl by Ambreen Razia
Ambreen Razia & Black Theatre Live co-production
Upstairs @ The Western, 9 June 2016 and touring
“bold and funny”
Every teenager struggles through a rising tide of angst as they battle raging hormones and peer pressures in their journey to adulthood. But add into that maelstrom the complication of being a first generation Pakistani girl stuck in a small town in west London and you have some idea of the confusion and chaos that sixteen year old Shaheeda feels in the lead up to her sisters over the top traditional wedding.
Written and performed by the author this is Ambreen Razla’s first play and is both funny and bold in tackling the challenges in trying to balance being a good Muslim woman in the Western world. While exploring many of the trials and tribulations that all daughters face when conflicting with their mothers, this piece is also not afraid to tackle age old problems like not living up to a parent’s expectation, first love and broken dreams. Told in a mixture of teenage text-speak, Arabic and good old English this perfectly illustrates how Shaheeda is trying to juggle all her cultural influences.
While the last third could maybe be accused of tying up loose ends a bit too cleanly the laughs and tears are very well balanced. The writing is clever enough that not everything has to be spelled out too clearly and the audience has to work a little bit in places to put the pieces of the jigsaw together. This is no bad thing when often playwrights assume their audiences are too thick to work it out for themselves.
While the writing is masterful the acting is sublime and there was even one part when I caught a tear rolling down Razia’s face in a particularly emotional moment.
Full details of the tour can be found at www.ambreenrazia.com/www.ambreenrazia.com/
First published on Western Gazette
and on London Pub Theatre Blog