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Identity Crisis

From 10 critic and 8 member reviews
Members say: Confusing, Funny, Entertaining, Ambitious, Absorbing

About the show

Part of Soho Playhouse's Fringe Encore Series: Actress Phina Oruche's autobiographical solo show explores the kind of identity struggles that are common to us all. More…

Best known for her role as aloof supermodel Liberty Baker in the ITV drama 'Footballers’ Wives,' Oruche, now in her 40s, has started to question who she really is. Spending more than two decades of her life taking on other people’s identities—first as a New York fashion model and later as an award-winning TV actress—has taken its toll.

Afridiziak Theatre News

for a previous production "It was her raw honesty and boisterous, hilarious wit that kept me engaged...The ease with which she switches accents and identity traits across these different people was great, the energy in this woman is astonishing...She was so honest in telling the audience everything about her life whilst also getting the audience to interact with her...An enlightening, touching and funny performance that translates across gender, race, and social status. I would recommend that you all go." Full Review

London Theatre1

for a previous production "This is an autobiographical account, and a refreshingly honest one at that...'Identity Crisis' subverts the usual approach to tragedy in a play, beginning with a death and its aftermath before going on to talk about less mournful times. Oruche has a highly compelling manner and gives a thoroughly absorbing performance...I was also impressed by the simplicity and lack of pretentiousness throughout...It’s over all too soon, really, but this is a sharp and insightful play." Full Review

The National Student

for a previous production "An engaging and honest piece of theatre...The shifts between one character and the next are almost instantaneous–smooth in their transitions and demonstrating Orucha’s brilliant acting skills. A production on such a small stage demands intimacy and control of the room. Orucha had both of those things in droves, which made for a show that was impressively immersive and entertaining to watch." Full Review

Shy Strange Manic

for a previous production "Oruche blew all my expectations out of the water with her fantastic performance...Oruche has a charm, stage presence and charisma that really draw you into her story and her fascinating life...Her acting prowess really shines in this performance; she plays a multitude of characters with great definition, both in speech and physicality, and makes it look as easy as if you were just chatting to her one-on-one...In the second half the narrative unfortunately gets a bit lost and confused." Full Review


for a previous production "She skilfully manages to draw the audience into her world of morass, sorrow and extraordinary achievements whilst at the same time balancing it with witty observations and laugh-out-loud humor...Exploring fewer characters but delving and fleshing out deeper the central players in her life’s journey would have helped greatly in driving home the mains themes of the play....Oruche’s effervescence, sharp and pertinent political and societal observations shone through brightly." Full Review

Rev Stan's Theatre Blog

for a previous production "She is funny, self-deprecating, and there is an honesty in her hindsight but the relaxed chatty style hides some barbs of social commentary...Oruche's story is a really interesting one and that is where this piece worked best...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." Full Review

Theatre full stop

for a previous production "The evening captures the chaos of Oruche’s life and it’s as if the audience has been invited to view an exhibition of Oruche’s life...Although these characters are an inspired tool to showcase how they have molded and shaped Oruche, the evening misses a depth quite challenging to achieve when a solo performer takes on this challenge. The narrative consequentially is structurally messy...Despite the heavy subjects of loss and mental health, Oruche’s strength and ebullience shine through." Full Review

A Younger Theatre

for a previous production "Oruche has an inviting, if slightly nervous energy...Each character comes to life quite vividly, even if they get a little muddled towards the last half hour of the piece. Oruche is a clever performer, but not entirely in control; the piece far too often dips into a casual conversational tone, losing its dynamic tempo...Towards the end it is hard to remember the initial tragic event that prompted the piece, as it is overshadowed by the abundance of detail from Oruche’s career." Full Review

The Stage (UK)

for a previous production "It’s an ambitious but unfocused solo show, and while a confiding, likable Oruche tries to mine her life for material—and there’s plenty of it—she constantly runs the risk of going on rambling rants or skittering from one snappy anecdote or character to the next, leaving us without much of an emotional anchor...There’s little in the way of excavation here, though there’s plenty of dishing the dirt." Full Review

Everything Theatre (UK)

for a previous production "The theatrical equivalent of being shown holiday pictures by your great aunt for an interminable length of time...Oruche displays an impressive array of accents and her characters are well differentiated. However, they rarely interact with each other in a meaningful way. Characters often appear more as stereotypes than as thinking, breathing individuals with dreams and desires; even the character of herself...The show has no idea what it wants to be." Full Review

Absorbing, Clever, Entertaining, Funny, Great acting

See it if A one woman show that explores the identities a black women was required to play for a white male society. An outstanding performance mate.

Don't see it if you like 'Love Island', Bake Off or are Everton fan.

Absorbing, Delightful, Entertaining, Funny, Great storytelling

See it if You want to hear some insight into the world of modeling and Phina's journey there. You want to be sucked into her world and enjoy the ride.

Don't see it if You are not interested in a one woman show about her trials and tribulations. You are not interested in her modeling and personal career

Also I enjoyed hearing her story and I enjoyed how she told it. This was a ... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Confusing, Funny, Slow, Thought-provoking

See it if You like solo shows and think that every person should transform put their life story into theatre piece

Don't see it if You're claustrophobic

Funny, Great acting, Confusing, Quirky

See it if you want to experience something different, this is a autobiographical monologue of the actor's life.

Don't see it if You have a hard time following multiple characters and are expecting a big stage production.

Confusing, Entertaining, Indulgent, Slow, Ambitious

See it if You want to see a one person show about her life-I think. She plays all the characters but not very well so when she tells HER story-great.

Don't see it if You want a coherent story. As she switches from character to character it's often hard to tell who/when/why. Story is lost.

Ambitious, Overreaching, Self-indulgent, Well-acted

See it if Charming, lovely, multi-talented, Phina auto-bios a succession of almost-famous successes that eventually leave her stranded.

Don't see it if Unfortunately not compelling enough for a one-woman show. Story lacks a driving engine.

Confusing, Intelligent, Indulgent, Angry, Insightful

See it if Interesting portrayal of black woman's experience in modelling/TV. Impressive performance of many roles. Struggle to find self.

Don't see it if She is judgmental and angry, often without being funny. Frequent character switches are hard to follow. Venue was hot and stuffy.

Banal, Cliched, Disappointing, Excruciating, Insipid

See it if She is a friend or relative of yours.

Don't see it if You have a deck of cards or a games app.

Cast & Creatives (5)