The newly named Brixton House Theatre (previously the Oval House theatre) is presenting Mike Kenny’s play as part of its House to House season.
It seems really pertinent that the Brixton House Theatre is choosing to showcase Mike Kenny’s play as part of its House to House season, given the fact that despite many children heading back to school – are probably feeling more lonely and isolated than ever before.
Random Selfies follows the journey of ten year old Loretta (or Lola as she prefers to be called) as she struggles to deal with loneliness despite all her attempts to fit in. Mike Kenny’s insightful and warm play just highlights that as the world get busier it is increasingly likely that children feel more vulnerable and lonely – hence the increasing reliance on social media to help make them feel more part of the world.
Thanks to Christina Ngoyi’s engaging, honest and natural performance as Lola the audience is automatically drawn into her world as she struggles to find out how she fits in when she feels so invisible – particularly when the other girls at school are invited to a make over party and she isn’t. The play wonderfully highlights and captures her confusion as she enjoys her own space and privacy but wants to stand out in a way that won’t get her teased by others – which comes to a head when she makes up a story as to why her sister has moved out of home.
But through Owen Calvert-Lyons’ focused and funny production, there is a strong hint of just how important friendship is in helping young people to discover who they really are – as Lola’s friendships with new girl Maya and Mrs Thing who lives upstairs proves. The way in which children react to other people helps them discover their personality and what makes them special and unique.
As well as a very funny and genuine performance from Christina Ngoyi who switches from character to character effortlessly, the production has many different elements that really work in bringing this story to life. In particular, Rachana Jadhav’s lovely illustrations on the back wall of the bedroom set capture Lola’s thoughts and sense of imagination and reflected well through Ed Sunman’s effective video designs.
Overall, Random Selfies is a really lovely piece of theatre that will offer comfort to any child who like Lola is feeling lonely and uncertain in the world. It is a warmly funny and likeable production that captures the central topics well.
By Emma Clarendon
Random Selfies is available to watch as part of Brixton House Theatre’s House to House series until the 11th June here.