When I first heard about We Are Ladyparts, I will admit, I was a little bit skeptical. A show about a Muslim girl punk band if in the wrong hands could be detrimental. As a Muslim woman, I have seen how shows can depict us and the impact this can have on the community (Citizen Khan I am looking at you) but I was intrigued so decided to give it a watch and it didn’t disappoint.
Written and directed by Nina Manzoor, We Are Lady Parts follows Amina (Anjana Vasan) as she meets Saira, Taz, Bisma, and Ayesha. (Sarah Kameela Impey, Lucie Shorthouse, Faith Omole, and Juliette Motamed) and through a series of comedic events becomes the lead guitarist of their band, We Are Lady Parts.
The show straddles the line between being light-hearted while also tackling issues such as toxic friendships, complexities of being a British Muslim, grief, and self-acceptance all with a sprinkle of comedy.
Mazoor, was able to capture what it means to be a young girl figuring out who she is and who are friends are beautifully no more so than when Amina and Saira attend a poetry reading. Saira offers to help Amina deal with her anxiety which impacts her stage fright. As a result, you see a series of touching scenes where Saira shows vulnerability for the first time in the show through her spoken word encouraging Amina to take the stage. During this scene, you can see a light bulb moment coming through within Amina. At that moment, thanks to her support system she was able to feel worthy and push through a fear which has infiltrated her life for many years. You also see Saira’s relationship with Amina develop deeper as a result of both of their vulnerability and adds to the development of Saira’s character enabling us to get a little more insight into her past.
The comedy parts of the show really shine through in the relationship between Amina and Ahsan (Played by ) where the initial interactions are a mix of nervous ramblings, comedic mishaps displayed through Amina’s inner monologue. As time goes on you see the interactions and form a more organic friendship. Ahsan who initially had the ick on his date with Amina slowly begins to like and care for her. In the last episode, you know regardless of what happens between they have a supportive friendship with each other.
Yes, Amina was the main protagonist of the show and while she was portrayed beautifully, it was Sarah Kameela Impey as Saira who stole the show for me. As the most emotionally complex character of the girls Impey portrayed the impact of grief and rejection on a young girl and how it leaves wounds that infiltrate other relationships in your life in a way that makes the watcher share every heartbreak with her. You want to shake her and shower her with love in equal measure.
Shobu Kapoor as Amina’s mother Seema is a show highlight. Rather than portraying the stereotypical South Asian mother we often see on screen she was warm, non-judgmental, and open to Amina becoming whoever she was while also being the embarrassingly cute and loving mum we all know and love.
The music in the show was powerful. The lyrics are full of angst and truth. You see each of the girls’ channel their own demons through the lyrics they are singing. It reminds you of all the times you have listened to a song and felt every note, every lyric seeping out of you.
While it was the actors who stole the show of We Are Lady Parts, it was the writing that let it down in some parts. While I understand the need to incorporate some form of crisis into the script for the band, I didn’t really fully believe it. It seemed quite predictable and something this generation would be able to pick up on in a heartbeat.
Zarina (Sofia Barclay) an online influencer emerged out of nowhere and while she was wonderful, the character and the storyline surrounding her left me wanting more. We fail to see her motives Was she a bad egg or did she have good intentions but executed it incorrectly? Was she playing Aysha? It leaves you with unanswered questions and she exits the show as abruptly as she arrived.
Overall, it is a brilliant piece of television and truly different from anything I have seen before. In a world where Muslim women are often portrayed as oppressed and presumed to be treated as second-class citizens, We Are Lady Parts is a reminder we are multifaceted capable strong beings and underneath it all, we are all the same.