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Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons
IO Performance


May 1st, 2024

Imagine having a limit put on the amount of words we could speak per day? How would that affect our everyday lives?  Language is something seemingly taken for granted in an age where freedom of speech, fake news and conspiracy theories run rampant. But if our ability to speak freely was taken away, how would that affect the little things; the ability to communicate the truth to your loved ones, the ability to connect and build trust. This is the concept for Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons from IO performance in their latest emerging director season directed by Antonio Zanchetta.

Oliver is a musician and Bernadette is a lawyer in training, who strike up a romantic relationship when they meet at the funeral for a dead cat. This budding relationship coincides with a push from the government for the introduction of a controversial “hush” law. This would see the general populace be limited to 140 words per day, with future amendments (for occupational exceptions), coming later. While it’s unclear as to how this law is governed, this blossoming romance that begins with a freedom, the ability to over speak and fumble awkwardly through early uncomfortable conversations; Slowly descends into an example of effective communication in a relationship. While we see the characters go through some stunted conversations and difficulty to connect with each other during the teething stages of the law, we know, that this sudden restriction helps them become more concise with language and shows us the importance of honesty in relationships. Because there are always less words needed to tell the truth than there is to lie.


Imogen Storm as Bernadette finds pockets of subtle truths throughout, via facial expressions and delivery of lines that helped find the truth of Bernadette. Imogen’s background in film technique helped this, as she has an ability to show more with less. Oliver Johns plays Oliver (The Musician) and conveys his frustration with the law convincingly and his want to fight it was bursting. However, it did feel like an awkward chemistry between the two actors, which made it feel more like they were in opposition to one another than a couple. Some jokes didn’t land because of this, and it made it unfortunately difficult to fully believe their relationship.  


Antonio Zanchetta’s directorial debut however was excellently realised and led to a compelling watch. The show relying on choreographed blocking, Actors doubling as crew, moving the set pieces (here four yellow blocks of different sizes) around to form the settings for the many different scenes in the show. These included a couch, a bed, a table, a DJ booth, and even the cemetery. Each time it was surprising and exciting to see what they would make next. This was also conducted on the true centrepiece of the Lemons set, and the most innovative and exciting piece of technology seen at IO yet, a revolving stage. It was thrilling to walk into the space and see a revolve on a Launceston independent stage, and when used, the revolve played a part in telling the story, playing like a third character in the show. Sometimes a revolve can be over utilised, or used when it isn’t necessary, but each moment it was used it had a purpose, and the few choreographed movement pieces with the actors on it fit the tone and the feeling of disconnection of the play. Blocking a show on a revolve is incredibly technical, so congratulations to Zanchetta for making this so effective.


Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons by Sam Steiner is a sweet and joyful little romantic comedy that teaches us the power in communication. It will make you laugh; it will make you cry, it will make you want to rush home and tell your loved ones exactly how you feel. Performances run till Saturday, don’t miss out.


Review by Matt Taylor

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