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Stage Review: Superhoe at the Royal Court, London

Nicôle Lecky performing in Superhoe. Picture: Helen Marray/Royal Court Theatre. - Credit: Helen Marray

A prisoner of the Internet

It’s not enough for youngsters these days to live their lives, but they have also to be seen to be living their lives on social media. On Instagram, in particular, appearance often matters a lot more than reality and that is what Sasha gets only too well. She posts some great pictures of herself enjoying a holiday in Dubai without apparently a care in the world.

Only her broad smile masks her cares about an ordeal that lies ahead with a group of men who have flown her out to participate in an orgy. She gets to pocket a few thousand quid for her trouble, but at what cost emotionally, if not physically? They are insisting on, among other things, unsafe sex.

Superhoe is the writing and performing debut of Nicôle Lecky and it’s the sort of play that, when you read what’s written about it on the Royal Court’s website, you could be forgiven for thinking would be a bit earnest and dull. Lecky gets, however, that the best theatre involves a character going on a journey and hers is certainly in a very different place at the end of the play than when she started out.

Just 28, Lecky turns out to be a revelation. All alone on the stage for 80 minutes straight through, she keeps the audience with her for every second. It helps, of course, that she can act as well as write and understands the human condition.

She starts off in her bedroom at her suburban home dreaming of being a rapper and absolutely dead set against becoming ‘the sort of girl that will be working in f****** Wetherspoons for eight pounds an hour.’

Appearance and reality start, after a while, to become impossibly blurred in her life and the dark forces of the web soon draw her into chatrooms where she gets to show off her body to unseen paying punters, and, after a while, she’s heading off on what appear to be glamorous holidays.

It is an unspeakably poignant play about the loneliness of our times and a generation coming up that, all too often, cannot cope with reality.

Towards the end of the play, looking at the pictures she posts of herself, she wonders if she has ever really been happy or still has any great sense of who she is any more. ‘I look at my page and think ‘f*** me, do I want her life!’ then I remember I do have my life – only it feels a bit different,’ she says, sadly.

Superhoe is the first collaboration between the Talawa Theatre Company and the Royal Court Theatre and I hope after this production – deftly directed by Jade Lewis – there will be a lot more where this came from.

I certainly want to see a lot more now of Nicôle Lecky: I rather think a star has been born.