Completely selling out four of its five nights at the Burton Taylor Studio, new-writing comedy Citric Acid burst onto the Oxford drama scene last week with all the energy the cast and crew of the bizarre satire could muster. Audiences were welcomed with a sinister smile from their host for the evening at the top of the BT’s staircase, handed a shot of sugar-free, gluten-free, fair-trade, free-trade but-certainly-not-free lemonade, and bundled into their seats by a bouncer.
From there, forty-five minutes of moving, intriguing and unsettling comedy ensued as the owners of the lemonade stand, Ben and Alice, encountered a stream of East London residents, from haggard business-people to obsessive hipsters, Karl Marx to Harry Houdini. Reviewers noted the commanding force of the script, from Mina Odile and Alex Newton, and the set built by Alex Grew, and all admired a stellar student cast under the direction of Josh Dolphin.
Marking the first collaboration between the veterans of the Commensal production team and Dolphin, founder of Koma Kino Theatre Company, the project was a resounding success both onstage and on the production’s books. Funds from the play are expected to support several future plays from Koma Kino in Oxford, as well as recognising the importance of new writing through donations to literary ventures Notes Magazine and Oxford Failed Novelists.
With plans afoot for a potential Edinburgh transfer and several significant London-based film and theatre projects in the next twelve months, the new creative collective forged under Citric Acid is a team to watch out for.
Read reviews from The Oxford Culture Review and Versa Magazine.
As production on Citric Acid draws into its final week before opening at Oxford’s BT Studio, the marketing team kick into high gear with a series of surreal images inspired by the dubious vibes of club night posters found scattered around the city. Concepts including a drowning Barbie doll and young children sampling the eponymous distorted lemon reveal how out-of-touch modern pop culture can be, and how wide of the mark its irony often lands. Campaigning across Facebook and with iconic posters plastered on the walls of venues perhaps frequented by the “overeducated and the underachieving” to whom the comedy speaks, the group’s work will intensify in coming days with a cast photoshoot, press previews and suggestions of impromptu performances popping up across the university town.
Tickets to see this brave new comedy from Oxford student writers Mina Ebtehadj-Marquis and Alex Newton are now onsale here.
When life gives you lemons…
Citric Acid is an absurdist satire for the overeducated and underachieving, revolving around a lemonade stand in Shoreditch—run by two cooler-than-thou uni graduates—where a series of customers (from an alcoholic businessman to Karl Marx) come to buy overpriced, gluten-free lemonade. Throughout, the two central characters, Alice and Ben, run the stand with a combination of servile commercialism and ludicrous academic pretension—a combination that is not unfamiliar to the Oxford undergraduate set.
As the team’s first piece of original writing, from Alex Newton and Mina Odile Ebtehadj-Marquis, and a return to the Burton Taylor Studio for the collaborators of Endgame, the project represents an exciting opportunity to deliver something different to the Oxford theatre scene. Jack Saville joins the group as director, with Alex Grew reprising his role to head up the technical side of things.
Watch this space for more!