Disruption: The Future of New Theatre is a strand at this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe that highlights different performances that take new and exciting perspectives on theatre. The performances are co-curated by High Tide and Assembly and one standout in the programme is Pink Lemonade by Mika Johnson. Themes of relationships, race and identity are at the forefront of the show. We hear about Mika’s dating life and how they find themselves fetishised by different people. Characters are presented by voice overs and Mika themselves reacts to these words in this brilliant solo theatre piece.
Pink Lemonade begins in an explosive style with beats presenting a soundtrack and the performer doing a spoken word piece over the rhythms. This powerful beginning sets the scene and delivers a physical and vibrant opening with Johnson moving their body and turning the segment into a physical theatre performance. It is a fantastic way to begin the show and totally grabs the attention of the audience.
The set consists of small pink boxes that conceal different object including lemons and a tasty looking cocktail. It is a sparse location, but the performer moves and manipulates the boxes to take us to different locations including a hairdressers and a busy nightclub. Pink Lemonade feels like a very personal and intimate performance. It is like Mika Johnson has opened up their diary and has let the audience into their life for a short period of time. This creates a deep connection with the attentive crowd, who listen to Mika as they use heartfelt poetry and words to give an insight into their life and their personal perspectives on gender and identity.
The poetry and beats give the show a vibrant edge. Pink Lemonade is not fully a piece of gig theatre, but these segments certainly make the show feel beyond a traditional spoken word storytelling performance and more like a live and visceral experience.