Phina Oruche is telling us about the flat she lived in on the Aylesbury Estate in South London that, years after she left, was used to portray a drugs den in a BBC drama. At the time she was working as a model, leaving her less than glamourous home for glitzy photo shoots. It illustrates well the theme of her semi-autobiographical, self penned piece Identity Crisis.
She grew up through Toxteth-riots era Liverpool, self-determination over coming shyness to pursue a modelling career that took her to Paris catwalks, hob-nobbing with the likes of Naomi Campbell, to big brand campaigns in New York and magazine front covers. From there she became a successful actress, then writer and columnist but all the time something was gnawing at her: 'Who am I?'
A family tragedy - which opens the piece - sparked the soul searching and using nine characters of different ages, genders and ethnicity she explores identity - not just how you see yourself but how others see you.
Phina Oruche's story is a really interesting one and that is where this piece worked best and I could have listened to more of her story. The other characters, despite their distinctions of gender, age and race start to get a bit tangled and as a result lose their impact. It is an interesting approach but not one that completely worked. I'm giving Identity Crisis three and a half stars and you can see it at the Ovalhouse in Kennington until May 13. It's 70 minutes straight through.