“The average person will speak 123,205,750 words in a lifetime”. Set against a backdrop of increasingly polarised politics, and a cruelly oppressed working class, Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons explores the power of language, and presents a world where inhabitants are limited, by law, to speaking only 140 words per day.
this production by Fight or Flight Productions captures the passion and enthusiasm that Steiner writes with, without once feeling didactic
This perhaps seemingly far-fetched concept, however, is anything but. Sam Steiner’s flawless script feels scarily realistic and relevant to the ‘now generation’, portraying a world of disenfranchised youths and severe political unrest. The anonymous party in power, referred to during the play simply as ‘them’, cunningly strip people of their right to free speech, in a bid to ensure the powerful stay powerful and that ‘the working class can’t even get a foot through the door’.
Despite its actively political agenda, Lemons is also fundamentally a love story. We first meet Bernadette (Alice Ivor) and Oliver (John Mark Slade) before the ‘Hush Law’ is passed, with wonderfully authentic, natural performances from the two actors. Ivor and Slade have an electric chemistry on stage, never dropping the ball with their slick back-and-forth dialogue.
Steiner’s non-linear narrative jumps rapidly between prior to, and after the law passing. This structure highlights the contrast between Oliver and Bernadette’s relationship, that loses its playful nature once the couple are no longer able to converse freely. This contrast is emphasised by the simple yet effective staging and set design, put together by Jess Barton (Director) and Ross Kernahan (Set Designer). The stage is rather garishly decorated by a combination of red and yellow props, coinciding with either characters’ costume - a visual representation of their opposing political beliefs, and growing separation.
Not only is Lemons a thought-provoking, important modern text, its also, at times, incredibly funny. Both actors display impeccable comic timing and sense of bathos, particularly in a scene that shows the final five minutes preceding the ‘Hush Law’ taking effect, where Bernadette and Oliver take turns to say everything they’ve ever wanted to say to each other, resulting in a hilariously awkward exchange.
Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons is a bold, perceptive, and relevant text. And this production by Fight or Flight Productions captures the passion and enthusiasm that Steiner writes with, without once feeling didactic. A stimulating, important, and thoroughly enjoyable piece of theatre - an absolute highlight of the fringe.