Unspoken thoughts and heavy silences become deafening in this gripping production of Sam Steiner’s Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons by First Floor Productions. Against the background of a new ‘hush law’ whereby citizens may only say 140 words a day, Bernadette and Oliver are a young couple trying to nurse their brittle relationship. With verbal communication so cruelly limited, can they find other ways to express themselves or must they succumb to the quiet? With clever nods to the current political climate, director Hamish Clayton creates an intelligent production that frames Bernadette and Oliver’s struggle amongst wider issues.
For gentle humour and political debate, this is one to watch.
Jemima Murphy and Charlie Suff are brilliant in their roles. In the intimate auditorium of Barons Court Theatre, their subtle yet vivid facial expressions can be fully appreciated. Murphy carries a great intensity to her performance that matches Bernadette’s determination in her court room career whilst Suff bounds about the stage like a spring, full of youthful energy. Together, the two hold a believable intimacy and closeness that makes their rows all the more painful to witness.
I had mixed opinions on the physical theatre of this show. At times, it seems to lose impact when too frantic and rushed within short scene breaks. However, at its best, the sharp and detached movements of the choreography reflect the draconian laws that this couple are forced to confront. In addition, the music choices accompanying these routines are always spot on and fit the changing mood of the performance.
Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons is a compelling production that stages the play’s challenging questions inventively. A powerful sense of urgency hangs over the entire performance, giving further gravitas to Steiner’s message: language is precious, in all its forms. For gentle humour and political debate, this is one to watch.