Monday, May 29

SHEWOLVES – Shakespeare North Playhouse

A call to action for the youth of today who may feel unseen, unheard and misunderstood. An uplifting coming-of-age comedy lovingly created for and made in collaboration with, young people.      

Derby teenagers Priya (Gurjot Dhaliwal) and Lou (Harriet Waters), the self-entitled Shewolves, are females surviving in the wild. After donning their retro ski suits, they attempt to break free and run away together from the constraints of their school and the disdain with their home lives, to find some freedom in the remoteness of the Peak District until Lou’s creative 3D printer design gets them hunted down. An unlikely friendship forms between the two girls both from different backgrounds, with Lou more financially privileged than Priya. Priya play’s up to her lack of self-worth and feeling unloved, ‘a lost cause’, reflected in her resignation to end up ‘on benefits or Love Island’, placing emphasis on making money and having fun. Whereas emotionally repressed Lou feels the pressure from her strict Mother, who she refers to by name, to be perfect and frets about her future when she experiences the repercussions from an attempt to rebel as an aspiring activist.  Lots of references are made to super teenager Greta Thunberg, the Swedish environmental activist who is the central source of inspiration here, how a single voice can achieve global reach and how her determination and unwavering belief in speaking out is an encouragement to all young people.  

Photo: Pamela Raith Photography

Despite their initial class-based judgements of one another, they discover shared insecurities and experiences, eventually supporting each other to speak out to address their troublesome personal circumstances. The chemistry between Dhaliwal and Waters nicely portrays the ups and downs of the friendship bond from a mix of silliness and playfulness to cross words, which painfully manage to cut deep causing an audible intake of breath. The actors perform with energy and move around the space with intent and clear purpose, maintaining a nice steady pace, perfect for easily distracted younger school audiences.     

Written by Sarah Middleton, the wealth of experience the SHEWOLVES production company has working within youth settings is evident, with the tone, delivery and language apparent that they know their demographic well.  At times it felt like the writing was looking a bit too hard for laughs with some comedic lines raising a slight smile rather than laugh out loud moments. The energy and likeability of the two characters had the potential to generate some subtle comedic moments if the script allowed them to. The play has a clear strong message that young people should be listened to with a very quick soundbite suggesting some other causes which young people hold strong views on, such as gender-based rights and trans rights.  More time could have been spent on this for audiences to understand the stance that young people have on these important social issues. 

Under Hannah Stone’s direction, the performance is polished and compact with kudos to the collaboration of the creative team in the production of seamless transitions between the various scenes. All elements working well together to create an enjoyable piece of theatre.                   

SHEWOLVES is currently on its 2023 tour, for dates and tickets visit;

Reviewer: Gill Lewis

Reviewed: 14th May 2023

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.