Review: Dugsi Dayz

A joyful play on friendship, faith and the adolescence

theatre review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
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Dugsi Dayz
Photo by Guy J Sanders
Published 07 Aug 2023

“There is nothing haram about having a baby in Year 9,” a girl says solemnly. It is but one of the many riotously funny, impeccably delivered lines in Dugsi Dayz, an effervescent four-hander by writer and actor Sabrina Ali. 

Four girls have begrudgingly landed in dugsi detention – dugsi being the Somali word for Islamic school – and they trade banter, gossip, insults, and attempt to suss out each others’ reasons for being stuck at the mosque on a Saturday. The grouchy Hani (Hadsan Mohamud) shoots impressive stink-eye. Cheery teacher’s pet Salma (Susu Ahmed) bursts into howling tears after dropping a book in Arabic on the floor – it’s the holy language. Vain and sweet Yasmin (Faduma Issa) is equipped with a baby pink Telfar and a Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb, and a propensity to Instagram everything. Spiky and mischievous Munira (Sabrina Ali) is Yasmin’s bestie, and always has a comeback.

They are a ridiculously charming foursome: effortless physical comedy animates everything from their micro-facial expressions, to the way they cower over giggling, or scream, “Aaaaaaah, in a mosque!” when Hani flips them off. It’s a fast-paced, endearing back-and-forth that should honestly be a TV series: we could listen to these girls’ bantz indefinitely, but the hour feels more like a pilot episode than a self-contained story with an arc. Nevertheless, Dugsi Dayz is practically brimming with joy and hilarity. It’s testament to the freshness and originality of stories made by Muslim women, for Muslim women – with universal and infectious resonance.