One of the revelations of the London-set “We Are Lady Parts” is Sarah Kameela Impey. All five actresses who play the Muslim punk band Lady Parts are exceptional on the Peacock show. Each one breaks stereotypes in her own way. But Impey jumps off the screen as the incendiary Saira.
The lead singer of Lady Parts, Saira seems particularly fierce and rebellious. She shouts out the band’s angry songs with an emphasis on every word; she means what she’s singing. She works as a butcher, and she deploys her knives effectively. But she’s also a bit emotionally shut down, wary of going too far beneath the surface. Her boyfriend, a band member’s brother, loves her and wants to stay with her, but she’s unwilling to make a commitment — one of the six-part show’s many twists of convention. Usually, the guy is in a band and the withholding one who won’t commit to his girlfriend.
Impey plays Saira’s ferocity, her independence, and her passion for being her very own kind of Muslim for all they’re worth. But she also brings out Saira’s often hidden compassion, her secret goodness, which shines as she works to keep the geeky Amina, so tormented by stage fright, playing in the band. Saira knows she is harboring unprocessed grief, and she knows she’ll ultimately need to deal with it, but it’s much easier said than done. When she finally opens her eyes, though, the light floods in.