PROGRESS THEATRE REVIEW

Progress Theatre hosted a virtual performance of Sam Steiner’s two-hander play Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons last week.

Progress Theatre hosted a virtual performance of Sam Steiner’s two-hander play Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons last week.

The 90-minute play, involving a series of short, non-chronological scenes, portrays the struggles of Oliver (George Prove) and Bernadette (Evie Stannard), a couple whose already problematic relationship is made worse when the government introduces a new law giving everyone a limit of speaking 140 words per day. 

This encourages the couple to think of new ways to communicate within the restraints of the law.

Through Steiner’s writing, he explores the themes of censorship, freedom of speech and democracy, which are presented in the quick fire scenes throughout the show.

The complexity of the script, which included 87 scenes, was an ambitious choice, especially as it was being performed online over Zoom. 

However, director Caroline White had clearly thought a lot about the staging of the play to adapt it for the virtual performance. 

From stage directions to eye line, every detail was very well executed and accurate throughout the show to make it feel more authentic. 

The actors would look to the edge of their screen, George to the right and Evie to the left, which for the audience would make it look like they were in the same room, which was a really effective tool that helped to distract the audience from the fact that they were on separate screens.

Evie, who played the role of ambitious lawyer Bernadette, represents a natural characterisation showing the emotional journey she goes through during the play. 

Alongside George, who played laidback musician Oliver, they both committed to creating a believable relationship, even though the actors were in two different houses throughout the entire performance, which was a really impressive accomplishment for the cast and team. 

Whilst there is always a risk to performing live, especially on Zoom, Lauren Boys (stage manager) and Lawrence Bird (sound technician) worked well together to ensure the whole evening ran smoothly from start to finish with no technical issues. 

The music and sound effects used throughout the performance added another layer to their production, which helped with the transitions between the scenes. 

The structure of the performance was neatly assembled, beginning with a well-presented slideshow of upcoming shows before the play began, to an insightful and relaxed Q&A section with the cast and crew at the end. 

These additional parts of the broadcast added much more value to the experience and there was real passion from every person involved with the production. 

It is exciting to see that their next productions are a radio play of Brewster’s Millions in April, then an evening of monologues over Zoom in May and an open-air theatre performance of Romeo and Juliet planned for this Summer.

To find out more information about Progress Theatre, visit progresstheatre.co.uk