Remember the days when you could only tweet 140 characters, and how frustrating it was trying to fit in everything you needed to say? It’s doubled to 280 characters now (approximately 55 words) and it’s still sometimes a struggle to get out just one thought succinctly. Imagine a world where you could only speak 140 words (less than 3 tweets) for the whole day every day. Citrus Theatre Productions demonstrates just that with Sam Steiner’s ‘Lemons lemons lemons lemons lemons’.

Citrus Theatre Productions was formed as a means to support and exhibit Northern writers, actors, and directors. They work particularly closely with Mancunian based creatives, and in the heart of Manchester’s thriving theatre scene, their production ‘Lemons lemons lemons lemons lemons’ is on at The Kings Arms until Saturday 20th October, and it's not one to be missed.

An intriguing title promises an intriguing play. The average person will speak 123,205,750 words in a lifetime, but in a world where there is a law limiting word usages we are forced to say less. The story follows Oliver (Sean Luttman) and Bernadette (Lucy Dixon) as they discover that it’s not just about what we say and how we say it, but about the things we can only hear in the silence.

The couple’s timeline is not shown chronologically, but jumps from before the law came to pass to when the law is in place and so on; made apparent by whether the couple talk in proper sentences or use broken speech in an attempt to “save” words. Each slick, fast-paced scene change was announced by Morse code beeps, with which Dixon and Luttman provided a fresh energy which truly made it feel as if you were seeing glimpse after glimpse of their lives. Steiner’s script is cleverly written in this way as the audience start to slowly piece the fragments together as the play unfolds.

The ingenious set also incorporates Morse code with white dots and dashes covering the black floor and seats. The multi-purpose props worked well, and the lighting complimented the scenes.

Luttman and Dixon gave incredibly strong performances throughout and had a great connection with each other. Dixon had a lovely expressiveness, and the audience were fully engaged with both the performers throughout. Their relationship was endearing to watch flourish, from the awkward getting to know each other to a blossoming romance; the space at The Kings Arms added to the intimacy of the two-handed play.

An incredibly interesting and witty piece of theatre, directed brilliantly by Nicolas Ancelin. The compelling storyline leaves you thinking about what's really important: particularly when Oliver misses Bernadette even when she is standing in front of him but not free to really speak to him. In a day and age of texting and social media, maybe we take the chance to talk to our loved ones properly face to face for granted.

Reviewer: Becky Mottershead

Reviewed: 17th October 2018

North West End Rating: ★★★★