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 The Theatreguide.London Review

Royal Court Theatre February 2019

Sasha stands before a microphone as if at a special concert and begins to sing her song Picture Perfect with its romanticised lyrics of 'We are flawless falling in love again.' The voice, warm and soothing, changes suddenly to an angry shout of complaint to her mother.

She had only been imagining a recording session. Beyond her imagination and its unreal innocence there are no songs recorded or concerts to perform, just a life that feels very limited.

She even describes herself as Quasimodo in her awkwardness with her family. Being the daughter to her white mother's former partner she says of her current situation with a white stepfather and siblings that 'I'm seriously outnumbered in this family. That's four white and one brown.'

Nicole Lecky gives an engaging performance as the twenty-four year old Sasha telling the story of her slippery slope from homelessness to a life in the sex trade.

That slope was in part built by her sister's father who once got Sasha as a child to pick up his drugs, and a group of twenty year old lads she used to hang around with who pressured her at the age of twelve into sexual encounters with them.

However it is Carly, who has spent some time in the sex business, who leads her through cam girl hook-ups on the internet to escort work and eventually prostitution. The money rolls in and the risks seem slight until one man unexpectedly subjects her to what she refers to as very rough sex that we might regard as sexual assault and rape. 

The story we hear is believable and compassionate. But it follows an old pattern of someone from a dysfunctional family drifting into drugs, sex and risky behaviour.

There is nothing surprising about it. We know the direction it's moving even if it is told with moments of humour in a conversational style.

Its attitude to the sex trade is neutral, one of regarding it as having benefits with risks. This is not the stuff of tabloid excitement.

It is simply the gentle story of a chatty, lonely young woman, who just needs a wise voice to care about her.

Keith McKenna

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