How old were you when you first began to feel the inklings of adulthood? I was 26, as was Alicia, the everyday heroine of this warm, funny and thoughtful spoken-word play. What seems, in performance, to be a tightly curated autobiography is actually a superbly scripted character study. The natural delivery and engagement is a testament to the talents of Yolanda Mercy. She is a new kind of triple-threat performer: superb as a poet, playwright and actor—with a great ability to integrate contemporary digital culture into the flow of her solo show too.
Illuminated circles of shifting pattern focus images from Alicia's phone. Yes, she gets distracted and has to check the pings. Naturally. They are from Tinder, her distant dad, or warnings from her online diary about approaching events. Marriage, death and love are all present as the show weaves its connections forwards, backwards and across tribes.
The acheivements of previous generations weigh heavily on Alicia's mind. Considerations of large topics thread through the personal anecdotes: immigration; sex; expectations of women. Poetry is formed from brightly projected emojis, or from audience responses to questions, posed safely and sweetly. The message is positive, the visuals—designed by Luay Eljamal in collaboration with Mercy and director Jade Lewis—clear and pertinent. Eljamal also creates the soundtrack of grime and street sounds that keep the energy high as Mercy moves to the beat or offers high fives. The audience whoops. We're very glad to have been here, and receive back love and optimism in return.