Me & Her tells the story of a Romanian girl who wants to escape the clutches of her mother and live life her own way.
Directed by Anca Vaida, It’s a one woman show with the excellent Nico Marica playing the part of Leilah: from the age of five when she marvels and squeals at the delights and lights of the local fair in her home town in Romania, through to facing adversity in her early 20s in London.
It’s a roller coaster of a ride as Leilah enjoys utopian moments of bliss, only to be thwarted or let down. She’s intelligent, loves the arts, is university educated, but it counts for nothing in London where there are always people waiting to exploit her. It’s as if she finds freedom or love, only for it to be snatched away. She then has to start again.
For Leilah, the streets are certainly not paved with gold as Dick Whittington would have us believe. She does menial jobs, she is asked to provide favours she doesn’t want to deliver and despicable things happen to her. In a nutshell, she is exploited.
Should she have left her mother who she used to watch every Sunday pray for her soul at mass?
It’s a colossal performance from Marica who skilfully manages to portray Leilah’s zest for life and thirst for knowledge – while giving her character a vulnerability that never leaves her.
Apart from some video sequences compiled by Cosmin Ardeleanu, Me & Her is all about Marica. There’s a dose of humour thrown in for good measure which Marica carries off well.
Barons Court Theatre deserves a pat on the back for supporting such an original and bold piece of theatre.
Photos by Rosamund Gravelle