Thursday, December 8

Brown Girls Do It Too: Mama Told Me Not to Come – Soho Theatre

Based on the critically acclaimed BBC Sounds podcast Brown Girls Do it Too, dynamic duo Rubina Pabani and Poppy Jay have brought their charm, wit and openness to the stage in this new show.

Winners of Best Podcast of the Year at the British Podcast Awards (2020) and Asian Media Awards, (2021) the podcast explores the chaotic reality of being a British Asian woman and their experiences of sex, identity and family while growing up. Titled ‘Brown Girls Do It Too: Mama Told Me Not to Come, the unfiltered show is a hilarious mix of skits, songs , stories and dancing. Set in the early 2000s- style teen bedroom decorated with nostalgic pop culture references from the likes of Bend it Like Beckham, Friends and American Pie with R&B classics playing in the background, the intimate set perfectly set the scene for the show.

Although I was unfamiliar with the podcast, the rapport between Pabani and Jay makes you feel like you are part of the fun and were present through the hilarious experiences they re-enact on stage. There were several standout moments, like the ‘Coconut Crimes Hotline’, where the pair hilariously detail ‘racial traitors’, the all too familiar “aunties” and Pabani re-creating sexual kinks steeped in south Asian stereotypes that left the audience either gasping in shock or in fits of laughter.   

Despite the show being comedic at its core, there were some emotionally raw moments too, with discussions of sexism, colourism and the shame surrounding being open about sex in their communities and families. It is clear to see how this podcast has liberated and also bonded these two women, as they reminisce about their lives and the difficulties they faced growing up. They expertly weave their experiences of online trolls and the backlash they received from the historically conservative south Asian community into the show too, with mean tweets and DMs contrasting with the heart-warming messages they received from listeners that the podcast has helped.

Bringing sex-positivity and female empowerment to the forefront, Pabani and Jay have created a space to navigate and openly talk about these “taboo” experiences, which many can relate to. This powerful podcast turned show with its unapologetic humour, hilariously graphic skits and admirable honesty is a glorious celebration of Brown women that is not to be missed.

Brown Girls Do It Too: Mama Told Me Not to Come is currently on tour across the UK, currently showing at the Soho Theatre in London until 22nd October, with tickets and dates available from:  

Reviewer: Gemma Prince

Reviewed: 21st October 2022

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★