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Theatre / Fangirls

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Fangirls is a 2019 musical with book, music and lyrics by Yve Blake. It concerns 14-year-old Edna, a diehard fan of the biggest boy band in the world, True Connection, and its lead singer Harry. It was inspired by interviews with hundreds of teenage fangirls.

Fangirls follows the story the story of Edna, a plucky misfit scholarship girl who believes that she alone can win the heart of the world's biggest pop star; a handsome young man simply known as Harry. Sure, he has 38 million other fans, but for Edna, that's merely a hurdle. Because there's nothing she won't do to meet Harry.

No, really nothing.

Tropes include:

  • Abduction Is Love: Loony Fan Edna decides that the best way she can prove her love to Harry is to abduct him and hold him prisoner in her bedroom.
  • Accidental Misnaming: Harry does not endear himself to Edna when he addresses her as "Emma".
  • A-Cup Angst: This is Brianna's biggest insecurity. During the "What If This is It?" number, she describes herself as "flat as a pancake" and declares she is "too old to not have tits".
  • And Some Other Stuff: Salty gives out a very vague recipe for making chloroform.
  • Batman in My Basement: After abducting her crush Harry, Edna keeps him Bound and Gagged in her bedroom and tries to conceal his presence from her mother and her friends.
  • Batter Up!: When the fangirls at the vigil are planning to hunt down Harry's abductor, one of them is wielding a cricket bat.
  • Bound and Gagged: After being abducted by Edna, Harry spends much of the second act blindfolded, gagged and bound to a chair.
  • Camping a Crapper: Edna is able to abduct Harry by ambushing him while he is on the toilet and chloroforming him.
  • Carpet-Rolled Corpse: When the girls decide to dump Harry's unconscious for in 'the woods', Catherine tells them to wrap him up in the rug.
  • Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon: Lily threatens to cut Harry's kidnapper's eyelids off with a set of toenail clippers.
  • Disappeared Dad: Edna is being raised by her Struggling Single Mother Catherine. Her father is never mentioned, and it is obvious that he has never had a role in his daughter's life.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: Brianna has this reaction to the 'joke' Jules' boyfriend texts about the abduction of the lead singer of True Connection ("One down, four to go"). Even though the joke is in extremely poor taste, she is even more upset about Jules pretending to find it funny.
  • Education Mama: Although the dialogue indicates that Edna won her scholarship to an exclusive private school entirely off her own bat, her mother Catherine is very proud of her for having done so, and keeps pushing her to make sure that she does not screw up the opportunity this presents her with.
  • Embarrassing Cover-Up: When Edna is trying to prevent her mother from entering her bedroom so that she has time to conceal the Bound and Gagged Harry, she shouts out the first thing to enter her head, which is "I'm naked!". This confuses her mother more than anything else.
  • Fangirl: As can be surmised from the title, all of the teenage characters are fangirls (or fanboy, in Salty's case).
  • Fully-Clothed Nudity: Brianna reacts like this when she drops her towel in the change room, even though she is wearing a swimsuit underneath it. This is another manifestation of her A-Cup Angst.
  • Gay Best Friend: Even though she only knows him online, Salty fills this role for Edna. Interestingly, outside of her mother, he is the person who expresses the most concern and offers the most support to her when she goes through her breakdown.
  • Groupie Brigade: Harry has a legion of obessed female teenage fans who stalk his every movement and swarm him at every public appearance. And when he vanishes, they become a Powder Keg Crowd looking for someone to blame for his disappearance.
  • It's for a Book: Edna gets her online friend Salty to help her plot Harry's abduction by telling him it's for a fanfic she is writing.
  • Indulgent Fantasy Segue: The play opens with a scene of Edna and Harry escaping from the police and running away together, which is then revealed to be part of Edna's fanfic.
  • Janitor Impersonation Infiltration: Edna sneaks backstage at the concert disguised as a roadie.
  • Littlest Cancer Patient: Discussed. The boys in True Connection have a habit of bringing sick females fans up on stage during their concerts, and there is a viral video of a cancer patient fainting on stage and being caught by Harry. Edna hatches a plan to get close enough to Harry to pass him a note by shaving her head and making herself look deathly ill. This plan is thwarted when she is unable to obtain a ticket.
  • Long List: Edna lists (in song) all of the items she has in her backpack that will allow she and Harry to go on the run together.
  • Loony Fan: Edna gradually slides from merely being a Fangirl to being a loony fan towards the end of act one when, unable to attend the concert, she concocts a scheme to abduct Harry; convinced that he will run away with her once he realises how much she understands him.
  • Mama Bear: While Edna’s mother may not completely understand her daughter, she would go to the ends of the earth for her. When she walks in on the girls deciding to throw Harry out of a stolen van, she takes in the situation for all of two seconds and calmly says “I’ll drive.”
  • Man Bites Man: When Jules removes the gag from Harry's mouth, he bites her on the arm, causing her to scream and the others to panic.
  • Metaphorgotten: Lily starts describing how a crush is perfectly named because it feels like your internal organs are being crushed. However, as she attempts to elaborate with another analogy about being a dental floss dispenser, only for them to get mixed and she winds up describing having her intestines drawn out through her belly button.
  • Nobody Calls Me "Chicken"!: Edna is able to bully Jules into blackmailing her mother into buying extra tickets for the True Connection concert with a manipulative spiel that ends with the question "Or are you chicken?"
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: An insanely popular boy band called True Connection whose lead singer is named Harry? Nope, not ringing any bells.
  • No Full Name Given: All of the characters are only known by their first names.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Edna's online friend 'Salty Pringl' is only ever identified by his online handle.
  • Only One Name: All of the characters, but especially Harry. A news report on his kidnapping even describes him as "the young man known to his fans simply as Harry".
  • One-Word Title
  • Phoneaholic Teenager: Pretty much all of the teenage girls, but especially Jules, who is never seen without her phone in her hand, deletes Brianna's precious photos to free up space, and has a meltdown when Edna almost breaks her phone.
  • Playing Sick: Edna fakes being sick so she can stay home from school and look after Harry, the kidnapped pop star she is hiding in her bedroom.
  • Powder Keg Crowd: After he disappears, Harry's fangirls mass in the centre of town: ready to search for him and/or unleash their fury on whoever took him. However, with no leads to follow and no obvious targets on which to vent their fury, they wind up almost turning on each other before gradually dispersing.
  • Right Behind Me: Edna outlines a plan to Jules and Brianna to put Harry in the stolen van, and throw him out and drive away. She completely misses their hints that her mother has walked in behind her and heard it all.
  • Social Media Before Reason: Brianna and Edna have to physically wrestle Jules' phone out her hands to prevent her from taking a selfie with the kidnapped pop star.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Edna abducts Harry and holds him prisoner in her bedroom because she feels she is the only one who truly understands him. It is implied that most of the otheer Fangirls are just bad, but they don't act on their obsession.
  • Stuffed into a Trashcan: In the Indulgent Fantasy Segue that opens the show, Harry stuffs a unfortunate police officer in a wheelie bin before running away with Edna.
  • Struggling Single Mother: Edna's mother Catherine is a struggling single mother who works night shifts as a nurse, meaning Edna is left alone most nights which gives her time to perfect her Zany Scheme. Edna has a full scholarship to an expensive private school but often feels deprived compared to her wealthier classmates.
  • Taught by Television: Edna teaches herself how to steal cars and how to drive by watching Youtube videos. Every other character who learns of this agrees that this is both impressive and insane.
  • Verbal Tic: Salty uses the word 'literally' as punctuation.
  • Vorpal Pillow: When Edna asks Salty for advice on how to resolve the situation with Harry, Salty (who thinks he is giving her advice on how to create a dramatic story) tells her that she has to kill him. After hanging up on Salty, Edna picks up a pillow and marches offstage with a determined look on her face. She doesn't actually get around to killing him.