Diary of a Hounslow Girl at the Ovalhouse
Diary of a Hounslow Girl sees newcomer Ambreen Razia writing and performing her debut play, which confronts through a darkly comedic lens the trivial and taboo issues felt by the younger generation.
Razia’s alter-ego Shahida dreams of defying societal expectations surrounding love, feasible careers and marriage. Whilst Shahida’s desire to leave her overbearing mother and sister for a life of fantasy are unobtainable, the mixture of monologue and witty impersonations makes for an engaging and thought-provoking watch. This one-woman play manages to debunk the stereotypes of ”the Hounslow girl” and unite us through shared common issues that are independent of generation and culture.
Razia’s writing is on point, with astute observations that allow her to flit from “boy drama” to becoming the black sheep in a family concerned with upholding cultural beliefs, without losing integrity. It is this balance between the light-hearted and poignant that keeps the piece fresh and engaging, whilst tackling material laden in angst.
The play is a continuous monologue, but director Sophie Monram skilfully builds tension, without the support of dialogue or chemistry between a cast or a detailed set. Diary of a Hounslow Girl is part of Ovalhouse’s First Bites, funded by 33% commission, which supports theatre participants in developing their work into professional pieces. With this show one can see the importance of fostering emerging talent: Razia’s writing, whilst rough in parts, shows exciting promise.
Comedian Pete Johansson wisely stated that one can’t be scared of something whilst laughing at it – a phrase that poignantly summarises comedy’s role in Diary of a Hounslow Girl. With this production Razia manages to confront bold issues of societal expectations, loss and teen-angst without pigeonholing her play within the confines of a tragedy/family drama.
Diary of a Hounslow Girl is on tour until 18th June, for further information or to book visit here.
Watch the trailer for Diary of a Hounslow Girl here: