Hannah Lavery
Fuel, Imaginate and Northern Stage in association with National Theatre of Scotland
Brixton House, Coldharbour Ln, London

Listing details and ticket info...

Kirsty MacLaren as Alice, Harmony Rose-Bremner as Jade and Amy Murphy as Chloe Credit: Mihaela Bodlovic
Kirsty MacLaren, Harmony Rose-Bremner and Amy Murphy Credit: Mihaela Bodlovic
Amy Murphy, Kirsty MacLaren and Harmony Rose-Bremner Credit: Mihaela Bodlovic

On the colourful set that reminds us of a playground, three older primary school girls speak to us about their lives, their school and their family. The play switches continuously between their lively thoughtful monologues, each of which illustrates a way in which the world needs to be different.

Alice is a runner. Her gran says running is in her genes. She is convinced that she and her best friend Hayley are the fastest runners in the school, even faster than the boys. Surely they should lead the running team in the end-of-year races.

It’s what should happen, but will it, given that the boys take up more space in the playground and talk more in class? Even the books chosen to be read by the class are tailored to the boys.

The teacher thinks it should be decided by a vote, but before the vote is taken, Alice (Kirsty MacLaren) and Hayley demonstrate they are faster by winning a race against the boys. Unfortunately, most of the class still votes for the boys.

Her Gran, who was at the Greenham Common protests against nuclear weapons, says sometimes you just have to make a stand. One of the things Alice does is to make a display that includes the names of many of the successful female runners in history.

Jade (Harmony Rose-Bremner) tells us that she and her friend Layla are the “only brown girls in the class” and she is becoming increasingly aware that the colour of her skin can be seen negatively. It includes an incident with some lads that takes place when they are walking home through the woods.

At one point, her dad, who usually seems happy and helpful to people, comes home angry at something he has seen written on a wall. He describes himself “as a bit dented”. With a friend, he covers it over with white paint. Jade doesn’t know what was written but hears that it included a swastika. She also hears how her nan had arrived from the Caribbean expecting a welcome and was treated very coldly.

Invited by the school to mount a display, she and Layla cover a wall with pictures of their grandparents whom the teacher refers to as “our friends of the empire.” Despite some positive responses, one day they find the pictures have been scrawled over.

The third girl to speak with us is Chloe (Amy Murphy), a bit of a loner. She spends a good deal of time with nature, sometimes collecting litter from the woods. Concerned about the conservation of the planet, she is drawn to the ideas of Greta Thunberg, the climate change activist, and even goes on a climate school strike. However, not knowing anyone else taking strike action, she is unsure what good it did.

Each of the three will try various ways of changing the things that bother them and will eventually come together in a park meeting in which they hand out placards to the audience. The one I was asked to hold read “Black Lives Matter”.

The show is a lively set of stories, performed by an engaging, believable group of actors, culminating in a hopeful, uplifting conclusion that encourages all of us to make a better world.

Reviewer: Keith Mckenna

*Some links, including Amazon,,, ATG Tickets, LOVEtheatre, BTG Tickets, Ticketmaster, LW Theatres and QuayTickets, are affiliate links for which BTG may earn a small fee at no extra cost to the purchaser.

Are you sure?