The brilliance of Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons is no secret, and it’s a testimony to the skill of achingly young Walrus Theatre that Sam Steiner’s smart, affecting play is now packing out the Roundabout.
Set in a world where a new Quietude law has limited each person’s speech to 140 words per day, it tells the story of a young couple whose struggle to communicate is only deepened by their depleted language.
Staged simply, and performed with ease and charm by Beth Holmes and Euan Kitson, it’s a play that takes a simple, absurd idea and uses it to stress test the world we live in. Sex, class, politics, protest and more are seen in new lights as the verbal shrinkage makes every word count. In the most brilliant sections, Steiner considers the disparity between the words of the wealthy and the words of the poor, how language can be a leveller and how structural inequalities are intensified by austerity in any form, even linguistic.
With a smart sense of humour and two relatable, vivid characters, it’s far more than a single-idea play, but that idea is remarkable nonetheless.