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Grief and fluff: Tiger @OmnibusTheatre

Death is something we all will face. After all, nobody gets out of here alive. But how do you get past it when grief is all you can feel? And this is the premise of Tiger, currently playing at Omnibus Theatre . It's a fascinating exploration of the stages of grief. And with a terrific cast to take you on this journey, it's an endearing and sweet story that has you engaged from the start, wondering what will happen next.  We are introduced to Alice (Poppy Allen-Quarmby) as she gives a stand-up routine. It's not particularly funny and starts to veer into the topic of dying. Something isn't right. She used to be good at this but can't move forward. Soon, she is back in her London apartment with her partner Oli (Luke Nunn), discussing that they need to get a lodger to make ends meet.  Oli is a doctor working night shifts at the local NHS hospital. Alice is not ready to face a return to stand up or anything. So when the first potential lodger arrives (Meg Lewis), looking

Musicals and random acts of bureaucracy: Glasgow Girls

Theatre Royal Stratford is often the home of raw and energetic productions. The Glasgow Girls which concludes its run here tonight keeps up this tradition. Set in a rough council block in Glasgow, it tells the story of what happens when the Home Office decides to relocate asylum seekers into the area while their applications are processed. While there might have been expected tensions between the locals and the new arrivals, five years on this didn't happen. Instead local and migrant girls bond and when their Kosovan schoolfriend disappears after a dawn raid, they lead the fight to campaign for the rights of the children of asylum seekers.

The fight to see their schoolfriend returned leads them to discover the long drawn out processes that asylum seekers face and how the options for appealing decisions are limited and narrow. Any success is a based on perseverance and a legal team that can search for loopholes. The role the girls play in this is less about what they actually did and more about their passion in doing it.

It is a powerful and inspiring story and the show works by combining music, dance and comedy to tell a story of community spirit and injustice. It is led by a cast of seven women who deliver some powerful singing and incredibly energetic dancing to hold the piece together. To mix it up a little there is also a wonderful performance by Myra McFadyen as a neighbour who speaks to the audience about not wanting to be in a musical, and then promptly breaking into song.

A musical about asylum seekers and based on real life events is challenging enough subject matter and the creative team manage for the most part to keep things on track without the show becoming overly sentimental. The musical styles are varied and work best when capturing the raw emotion of living in limbo and being a second class citizen.

If anything in the attempt to cover all sides of the story weakens the its impact. The musical numbers to explain the motivations of the bureaucracy and the Border Agency don't seem to add much (particularly since the Agency itself wasn't set up until 2008 - three years after when the piece was set). These numbers also are at the expense of a chance to gain further insight into the families who claimed asylum. Why they fled, the difficulties they faced, and how after the years of waiting for their application to be processed by the slow moving Home Office they became part of the Glaswgow community could have been explored further.

Still, there is much to admire in this piece that provides a refreshing positive perspective on refugees in Britain that you won't read in the press. There is also a terrific set that stylises a rough Glaswegian council block that is their home and where they feel safe.

The show has finished its run in Stratford but keep an eye out for where it heads to next...

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