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This is an incredible performance, easily the best one (wo)man show I have ever seen. Superhoe is the self-narrated life and times of aspiring singer-slash-rapper and rebel Sasha Clayton. There’s no easy way through for a young penniless black woman with no daddy and no degree. Now make that a woman with a mind and dream of her own and we know Sasha is headed for some rough times, starting with her domineering, morally superior white step-dad Kevin.
Nicole Lecky is a phenomenon. An English-Jamaican writer, actress and singer from the East End, she came out of the Soho Theatre’s Writers lab and has just won a bursary from the Creative Skillset and Dancing Ledge Productions to write for television. ‘Superhoe’ is her Royal Court debut. She kept the entire audience on the edge of their seat, laughing, cringing, cheering, all on her own for an uninterrupted eighty plus minutes ride. Lecky impersonates all the characters in the story, from her sweet powerless mum to her Yorkshire accented pimp/roommate Carly, with some great songs along the way, including a rap song called “Premium Pussy” that ends with a shower of Monopoly money on us.
We follow Sasha’s Odyssey from her life in the home where she no longer has a place, down through various levels of hell until finally she finds a safe shore and a second chance. Unlike Ulysses however, the Calypso of Sasha’s story is invented by herself, on her Instagram account. She creates a parallel Sasha, one that her previously disdainful younger sister now admires, a wealthy model who tags the pictures of her high-life with words such as “blessed” while flesh and bone Sasha is brutalized by a ‘client’. It’s a cautionary tale for our age. Lecky manages to create a character unreliable and obviously flawed and yet we root for her because she hangs on to her mind and her dream. When she hits rock bottom, after her last hope collapses, we have some of the play’s best lines: “The room starts to spin and my head gets hot. I’m going home. I don’t even know what that means but I’m going home.” She has nowhere to go. Yet Sasha doesn’t let herself die, inside or out. She tries again. She follows her heart. And this time, finally, it works out. Not in the way Sasha would ever have expected but then again, Sasha is an unreliable narrator. The play ends with Sasha safe in a warm bed and able for the first time to tell what really happened to her. The last song Lecky sings is about being a superhero. Because that’s what it takes for people to survive their traumas. A superhero within.