Lemon is as Fresh as it Gets

Jonathan Zagrodnik

Staff Writer

Lemon marks Filament Incubator’s second play release in two months. This up-­and­-coming theatre collective is on a roll.  

Written by Andrew Markowiak, Lemon tells the story of 24-­year­-old university graduate Liz (Julia Hussey), as she gets into a business feud with local eight­-year­-old Lucy (LeeAnn Ball) over whose lemonade stand has staying power in the neighbourhood.

The best thing about Lemon is that no matter how ridiculous the characters behave (such as two grown adults buying out every lemon in every grocery store, or an eight-­year-old having a sophisticated business meeting with her stuffed animals) it feels very real. This is a combination of the clever writing by Markowiak and the stellar performances by the cast.

The story is engaging, honest and believable. Markowiak does an amazing job of capturing the post­grad stress that is placed on our generation. I don’t think there was a single Gen Y audience member who didn’t think, “Yup, I’ve been there” during some point of the show.

Markowiak manages to do something that very few playwrights can manage, which is to create an effective ending that is drastically different in tone from the rest of the show. The show maintains a light­hearted and fun no-real­-stakes brand of comedy, while choosing a few key moments to up the ante.

Yet in the play’s final moments all of that goes out of the door and the plot takes a dark, emotional turn. Though unexpected, this shift does not feel out of place and the actors authentically carry it through.

With that being said, I need to congratulate the cast on such a killer performance. Hussey and Ball play up their rivalry to perfection. Danny Ghantous’s character Dennis comes in as the ever important mediator between the two. Ghantous accentuates the loveable goofball character and does a great job at tugging at the audience’s heartstrings, while remaining unpredictable. We don’t know whether or not to trust his character, but we certainly do love him.

The cast breathes excellent life into Markowiak’s writing, and creates great un­scripted­ in­-the-moment choices that prove hilarious, yet effective for the story. Filament Incubator has struck gold with this coming-of-age comedy.

Lemon plays May 25 - 29 and June 1-5 at 8 p.m. at Majlis Art Garden.