A review of The Diary of a Hounslow Girl, by Student Ambassador Ashleigh Hawthorne

Brimming with talent, Ambreen Razia’s performance, The Diary of a Hounslow Girl, captivated me from the outset. My eyes did not wander once throughout the coming of age tale she has carefully crafted. Her comedic ability to unite ages and ethnicities is what has impressed me most. Growing up in a completely different environment to the strict Muslim upbringing displayed did not hinder my connection in the slightest, as the core messages on parental, romantic and platonic relationships were universal. This very Jack Thorne-esque play had myself and my counterparts laughing the whole way through Ambreen's painfully true, yet endearing, teenage remarks.

The modernist, minimal set coincided well with the content of the play whilst allowing our focus to primarily be kept on her. One subtle feature I particularly liked was the green undercover of her duvet metaphorically transforming into the neon green cake, and as her speech climaxed, as did her struggle with the duvet which seemed to constrict and consume her- I imagine much like the onlookers at the wedding party.

I could not help but feel the urge to wrap her up in bubble wrap as the drama unfolded and her world caved in, effectively emphasised by the use of lighting shifting from the comforting lanterns depicting the sanctuary of a teenage girl's softly lit room to the harsh LED lighting strips connecting her antidotes to the harsh reality of the outside world. I thought the strip of lights signifying the bus stop was particularly effective and aided the characterisation of Aaron. 

The adolescent pressures she faced saw her seek refuge on top of her bed which is where she shared some of the more vulnerable aspects of her memories. This went hand-in-hand with the simple touching realisation that she didn't need to travel and see the seven wonders to find her true pleasure, yet she could find these pleasures within her and her family connections, ‘to see, to hear, to touch, to taste, to feel, to love, and to live’ all in Hounslow. 

The Diary of a Hounslow Girl by Ambreen Razia was originally commissioned by Ovalhouse in 2015 and is currenty touring the UK with Black Theatre Live.

Additional information

I'm Ashleigh Hawthorne, a 19 year old Northern Irish lass. Graduate of the Guildhall Preliminary Acting Course, keen Ukulele player and Illustrative artist. Delving into the London theatre scene with a particular interest in Greek Literature, Classical Adaptions, New Writing, and Physical Theatre pieces. My goals for this year are to better my critical analysis of theatre and to learn skate.

Follow my Instagram to see my next theatrical adventure: @_ash__h