Ovalhouse Theatre, London – until 4 April 2019
Random Selfies by award-winning writer Mike Kenny (The Railway Children) is the story of child loneliness in a busy world.
Loretta or Lola as she prefers to be called is 10 years old and lives with her mum and annoying younger brother in a ground floor flat in a big city. She’s finally got her own room, her older sister having left home – the circumstances of which Lola seems reluctant to talk about – but her privacy isn’t complete because her mum won’t knock.
Performed by Christina Ngoyi, Lola’s bedroom forms the backdrop for the piece, her window is a screen on which graphics and animation depict some of her thoughts, ideas and flights of fantasy. People tell her to be herself but how can she be when she’s bombarded with advice about what she should wear, say and do.
Kenny’s writing is a window into a world of a 10 year old where life is a series of fine balancing acts. Lola wants to be seen and included, invited to the popular girl’s party but doesn’t want to stand out in a way that means she’s picked on. She wants privacy, her own space and to be left alone but gets lonely.
Between Maya, the new girl at school and an asylum seeker, and Mrs Thing who lives upstairs Lola learns to look beyond the selfies and the Facebook ‘likes’ and see herself through a different lens.
Adults playing children is tricky, it can come across as a caricature but Ngoyi’s performance is convincingly natural. Random Selfies is a warm, funny and perceptive piece.