There are some things that appeal exclusively to women; pretty sequined frocks, stories about finding love and friendship, singing Man, I Feel like A Woman at the top of your lungs – to name but a few. Girls Behind caters to its target audience by including these essentially feminine vices. I went along to the New Wimbledon Theatre expecting to see a chick flick for the stage, and this is exactly what I got.
The songs have clearly been chosen with the target audience in mind and some of them were sung exceptionally well and enjoyable to watch. However, what bothered me about this line up is that it seemed as though the songs were chosen first and a storyline was written around them after. As a result there were moments so clichéd it was bordering on tedious – Memories was the best example of this, sung well but so over the top for the scene it was in. Additionally as many of these songs are well known elsewhere they had connotations and a history that just didn’t quite fit in a modern day story.
Perhaps the most frustrating problem with Girls Behind is that it was hard to differentiate what was unpolished for the sake of realism and comedy and what was unintentionally just not up to scratch. Either way, the opening number, Think, needed to be of a higher quality to get the audience enthused right from the start. It’s not until later, during This Is It and Stay With Me Baby, that I really started to enjoy myself. Thankfully, Big Spender (pictured) was the high the audience had been longing for from the start.
The characters are well written by Louise Roche, she kept them simple but made them lovable despite some very human flaws. Again, they are written with their target audience in mind so women are likely to identify with them; we recognise their traits in ourselves as they are mainstream gender stereotypes. Sadie (Maureen Nolan) is slightly cynical but witty, Lois (Donna Hazelton) is spoilt, self obsessed and talks a lot, while Serena (Sue Deraney) is shy and eager to please.
The casting choices are appropriate as they are all real women – being slightly older and having curves. The situations depicted; from having an orgasm over chocolate, an unfortunate experience waxing a bikini line, or lying with your feet in the air to allow gravity to assist with conception, are funny and again very relevant to the audience.
Women of all ages will enjoy Girls Behind, but I forewarn them, take your girl friend, your sister, your mother, even your grandmother, but don’t try and take a bloke. He will be out numbered a hundred to one and that final moment when you want to join the other oestrogen oozing audience members for a boogie will be compromised; and you may leave feeling somewhat dissatisfied and craving a chocolaty substitute.