Jenna Coleman and Aidan Turner are set to star in the West End premiere of Sam Steiner’s award-winning play Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons, which will open for a limited run at the Harold Pinter Theatre in January.
A play about words, but also “dead cats, activism, eye contact and lemons”, in Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons the government has imposed a “hush law” and people can now only use 140 words a day. With humans reportedly using as many as 123 million words in an average lifespan, the play explores the impact of the restrictions on a couple.
Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons was a huge success when it premiered at the Warwick Arts Centre in 2015, winning three Judges’ Awards at the National Student Drama Festival and touring festivals including Latitude, Edinburgh Fringe and Camden People’s Theatre.
Now, it is coming to the West End for the first time, running from January 18 to March 18, before moving to the Manchester Opera House and the Theatre Royal Brighton in March.
In the two-hander, British actor Coleman, who found fame playing Doctor Who companion Clara Oswald in 2012, and has since starred in Victoria, The Serpent and The Sandman, is set to star opposite Turner, who starred as dwarf Kíli in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy and as Ross Poldark in Poldark.
Josie Rourke, the artistic director of the Donmar Warehouse from 2012 to 2019, is set to direct alongside a creative team that includes design by Robert Jones, lighting design by Aideen Malone, movement by Annie-Lunnette Deakin-Foster and costume design by Kinnetia Isidore.
Rourke said: “I’m thrilled to be working with these electric actors on this brilliant play. I feel we are in a moment where - however indirectly - theatre might help us digest how we lived and changed through the extremes of the past few years.
“Sam’s play finds the humanity in how people and couples work through extreme situations. There is the potential for great joy, fun, reflection and healing in that.”
Speaking to The Guardian she said: “As sheer theatre, the central idea is a dazzler... You see these two characters before and after that word count restriction is in place. Are they a better or stronger couple with more words?”
Since Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons, Steiner, who is a co-founder of the touring theatre company Walrus, has written A Table Tennis Play, which ran at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2019 and Kanye the First, which was first performed at the HighTide Festival 2017 and imagined what would happen if Kanye West was reborn as a 27-year-old middle-class British woman.
Steiner said: “Writing ‘Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons’ taught me how to be a playwright. The opportunity to revisit and grow the play all these years later and bring it to a larger audience with Josie, Aidan, Jenna and an alarmingly inspiring creative team is thrilling and confounding in equal measure. I hope it speaks to now in a way that I couldn’t have predicted then.”
Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons will open at the Harold Pinter Theatre from January 18. Tickets are on sale today from midday, available here