Welcome to Girl World, where there’s only one rule: NO BOYS ALLOWED. Meet Tilly and Inga, two best friends who have never needed anything except each other and the garish, glitter-covered world in which they live. But there’s trouble brewing in paradise; Inga is content with miraculously birthing Beanie Babies every day, and whittling dick chopper-offers from pieces of driftwood on the beach, but Tilly wants something more. She wants to explore the intriguingly mysterious hole that has appeared in the fabric of Girl World (10 points if you can spot the innuendo).
We watch as Tilly, once the leader of the pack, succumbs to the insatiable pull of the hole and the pleasures that the outside world could bring, and simultaneously breaks Inga’s heart. Inga resorts to increasingly desperate measures to try to change Tilly’s mind (including a hilarious sequence in which she pretends to be possessed by the goddess of Girl World, Fatnaboona) but nothing seems to work and the girls eventually come head to head in an almighty, prepubescent showdown. After sweat, tears and probably some blood as well, the girls realise that their care for each other is more important than anything else and that they must brave the world beyond the hole together.
Girl World is a wonderfully relatable, refreshingly honest coming of age story of the sort that we are desperately lacking in mainstream theatre. Very rarely does anyone talk about that uncomfortable stage in girlhood when childishness and sexuality collide and Camille, Franklin and Paul Dawson’s script portrays this perfectly. Although erratic, crude and completely outrageous it is apparent that the inspiration for the script came from real life – Girl World the place was first created by an eight-year-old Camille and two friends on a giant roll of wallpaper. This unabashed truthfulness shines through and invites us in, reminding us of our own outlandish and ‘inappropriate’ games and encouraging us to look back on this time in our lives with fondness rather than embarrassment.
The script is accompanied by music by Franklin Dawson (performed by himself and Oscar Lane) that is reminiscent of the silly songs we would make up as pre-teens, trying desperately to be ‘cool’ like our favourite bands. This enhances the over the top nature of the show and dials the comedy up to 200% – everyone around me was in stitches from the word go. The piece is also complemented by Ranya El-Refaey’s fantastically gaudy design. Pieces of coloured fabric are stitched together and draped across the set and teddies hang from the ceiling, immediately giving the impression that we are in some sort of magical yet strangely adult blanket fort. This makes familiar the strange and surreal and helps us settle into Girl World before we even meet Tilly and Inga.
And as for the actors themselves…Serena Ramsay (Inga) and Camille Dawson (Tilly) have such a wonderful and genuine chemistry that you can’t help but to want to watch them. The combined energy that they inject into their performance is exhilarating and terrifying all at the same time, demanding the constant engagement of the audience. The contrasting styles of the two girls work perfectly together: Ramsay is the clown, her physical comedy and uninhibited character play are evocative of an excitable younger sister. Dawson shows us the bossier older sister, the confident leader, who’s trying to suppress her silliness in order to be ‘cool’, which is hilarious in itself.
Girl World is comedy gold, whilst also remaining heartfelt and human and is an absolute joy to watch. Unfortunately its run at Platform Southwark has now ended but you can catch Tilly and Inga at SpaceTriplex, from 3rd – 25th August, at Edinburgh Fringe Festival this summer. So hurry along because the tour of Girl World is about to begin, and trust me, it’s not something that you want to miss.
Tickets for Girl World at SpaceTriplex – https://edinburghfestival.list.co.uk/event/1003426-girl-world/
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