Leper + Chip

Lee Coffey

Bitter Like a Lemon

Assembly Roxy

From 06 August 2015 to 31 August 2015

Rating: *****

Review by Graeme Strachan

Before the audience even sits down, the two young performers of Leper + Chip already dance and shadow box on the empty stage.

It's a sign of the kinetic and vibrant nature of the piece that the energy is flowing even before the first lines are spoken. But, once the play begins, there's barely a pause for breath as we're led through a parallel tale of two young Dublin teens and the events which bring them together.

Lee Coffey's new play is a beautifully performed slice of agonisingly simple but heartfelt vivacity. Conall Keating and Amelia Stewart spin the tale of Leper and Chip, the awkwardly nicknamed star-crossed lovers whose burgeoning romance begins in derision and steers ever more toward tragedy, beginning at a drunken house party which descends into a full on stramash between the mutual friends of each, then leading to unfortunate and dangerous meetings of both with more sinister members of the Dublin community.

It's a cleverly devised spectacle, with each actor taking up half the stage and the action passing back and forth between them, sporadically punctuated with a shout of "SMACK!" and a flash of the stage-lights.

By the time the final bows are taken, expect to be as exhausted, both emotionally and physically, as the talented cast enthral with this superb piece of modern fiction.