Barons Court Theatre – until 26 May 2019
What is it? Written by Sam Steiner, this two hander explores the relationship between a young couple post and pre a law that bans the use of more than 140 words per day.
What’s it all about? Bernadette (Jemima Murphy) and Oliver (Charlie Suff) are a young couple who meet and bond over a mutual friends dead cat. Both are instantly sparked by the other and as the show progresses we jump around in time and witness their relationship at its strongest and at its weakest.
Bernadette is from a working class background but has worked hard to have a successful career as a family lawyer, and Oliver is a passionate musician who believes strongly in the people having their human rights intact. The pair have different views however on the new “Quietude Bill” that will stop them from being able to use more than 140 words per day.
Oliver believes it is fascism but Bernadette doesn’t quite agree. As the vote draws closer the tension in their relationship builds and cracks begin to form. Once the Bill is past, the pair attempts to make the most of it, creating codes and tricks for them to get by, but as they move further into it, they also move further away from one another.
How did it make me feel? The writing of this piece is powerful, and Steiner’s script is an example of good writing always shining through. However, both Murphy and Suff lack the chemistry that these characters need to really portray this deeply entwined relationship.
Hamish Clayton makes some interesting choices with his direction, particularly with the transitions and the physical elements of the piece. The use of popular music at times is effective, but mostly ends up dragging out moments instead of focusing on what is most important in the piece, the language.
The physical characteristics of the show also feel alien, and a little heavy handed as we feel, as an audience disconnected from the characters, as the movement adds little to story. Sadly, it feels as if the true meaning behind the unsaid, and in particular, how much someone can say in so little words is completely missed. The lighting design by Gregory Jordan however is brilliant, with specific lamps turning red when either of the pair have run out of words, and serves as an emotive and often gut-punching device.
Where Is It Playing? The show is performed at the Barons Court theatre, an interesting basement space that serves the show as best it can, but often misses pieces of dialogue as the actors face away from the audience. Anything Else? This production of Lemons is hit and miss. The actors lack connection with each other, but are good performers individually, but unfortunately the overall faff of the production takes away from the importance of speech and language that speaks volumes in itself. Amy x Lemons is playing at Barons Court Theatre until the 26th May 2019. If you like my reviews and want to support this blog feel free to buy me a virtual coffee here!