Review: Pink Lemonade

Storytelling, spoken word and movement come together in a show about queer identity and dating

theatre review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
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Pink Lemonade
Photo by Bronwen Sharp
Published 14 Aug 2019

Growing up, Mika Johnson didn’t like wearing dresses or playing with girls’ toys. They note that we are constantly performing, like actors in a play. Combining spoken word, storytelling, dance and plenty of humour, they invite us into a dating life which centres around the concoction of a lemon cocktail. Johnson begins at a microphone, two tube strips which emit pink light either side of them to create a frame. Two pink boxes on the stage, one big and one small. One is lifted early on to reveal about a dozen lemons which are rubbed against their body as they dance.

Johnson teases with the audience, their cheeky grin charms and humours, as their body moves playfully into various shapes and poses. The performance is underscored with hip-hop, R&B and bashment, the latter being a modern uptempo relation to dancehall and ragga, and a particular favourite of a girl Johnson meets at work. Johnson finds themselves the object of fetishisation from a woman who appropriates black culture from her hairstyle to the objects in her bedroom. Description and feeling sit hand in hand in a poetical text which plays plenty with rhythm and rhyme.

In a scene which provokes a considerable level of audience response, Johnson lies on the floor and inserts their head into one of the pink boxes, the sound of an orgasming partner playing through the speakers while Johnson moves their head and arms in and around the box. The narrative of the story is a little thin overall, but Johnson excels in the physical comedy and spoken word. They have a distinct and excitable performance style and form a lovable rapport with their audience while exploring queer identity.