Nicôle Lecky is a serious name to watch. She’s the writer, performer, singer and occasional rapper in her own thrilling monologue ‘Superhoe’, which has its faults, but is clearly the work of somebody who will go very, very far indeed.
It concerns Sasha Clayton, a 24-year-old mixed-race woman who lives with her mum and step family in Plaistow and devotes herself to trying to record her long-threatened debut EP in her bedroom whilst chugging through as much weed as she can lay her hands on.
It’s a lazy comparison, maybe, but the early bits have the vinegary verve of ‘Fleabag’, as Sasha self-destructively abuses her family with a winning blitheness. But there’s something naggingly off – she seems evasive about the amount she’s drinking, and she alludes to a loneliness she feels as the only non-white member of her family.
Things spiral when Sasha is turfed out of home and falls in with Carly, a hard-partying Instagram star who slowly but surely lures her into a world in which being a social media celebrity and being a sex worker become alarmingly blurred.
It’s initially a bit disorientating when ‘Superhoe’ starts morphing into a drama about abuse and the commodification of women's bodies in the web age. It’s a very valid subject for a show, but it sits a bit oddly with the raucous sense of humour – it’s only Sasha’s continued lack of self-reflection that really allows ‘Superhoe’ to style out the increasingly bleak situations its heroine finds herself in.
Jade Lewis’s production has an appealingly cynical snap and crackle, but it struggles a bit when trying to change to a more emotional gear. And while Lecky’s songs make for enjoyable interludes, they sometimes feel more like a showcase for another of of her talents than being entirely integrated with the story.
Still, it’s a terrific 90 minutes of entertainment. In trying to demonstrate all of her talents at once, Lecky over-exerts herself occasionally, but the ambition – and the results – are undeniably impressive.