Fresh out of university, Eve (Valerie Smith) and Leah (Francesca Bloor) decide to spend part of their gap year volunteering at the Jungle in Calais. In spite of their conservative parents, they set sail for France, planning to stay only for a short time. Unsure of what to expect, they’re soon confronted by the cruel reality of thousands of people in need. As the weeks become months and their responsibilities within the charity grow, they witness first-hand the repercussions of decisions taken by government leaders all over Europe.
It’s 2016, the Brexit vote has been cast only a few months earlier and Donald Trump is about to become the President of the United States. The refugee crisis has reached a peak and there are nine thousand asylum-seekers in the Jungle. All information about the camps are filtered by the media, influenced by political manoeuvres or manipulated by the Police.
Eve and Leah move quickly up the charity hierarchy, passing within weeks from preparing packs in the warehouse to managing the handouts, bringing them into direct contact with the migrants. Amongst them is Jamil, a boy in his early teens who’s hoping to soon be reunited with his brother in the United Kingdom. His touching story brings a sudden halt to both the girls’ mission and their friendship. But, upon returning home to Exeter things no longer look the same and the urge to return to the frontline becomes increasingly pressing.
Witten by Madeleine Accalia, White Girls is the moving account of a life-changing experience, with all the personal implications that make it equally hard to stay or return home. The powerful subject is partially let down by the relentless direction, which commands the two actors to move or perform tasks every few minutes. So much action on a tiny stage is distracting and makes the delivery feel rushed. Smith and Bloor are enthralling performers, but the use of microphones is unnecessary, and loudness is sometimes confused with voice-projection.
The dramatic plot, with its fresh comedic character, has all the right cards to keep audiences glued to their seats, making them laugh and cry. But before the script can truly realise its full potential as a piece of storytelling it needs a necessary adjustment of narrative techniques and non-verbal communication.
Written and Directed By: Madeleine Accalia
Producer: Laughing Mirror
Box Office: +44 (0)131 226 0000
Booking Link: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/white-girls
Booking Until: 26 August 2019