Midsummer (a play with songs)

  • Written by: David Greig and Gordon McIntyre
  • Directed by: Lyndee-Jane Rutherford
  • Circa Two
  • 21 September − 19 October

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New Zealand Premiere

She's a lawyer. He's a petty crim. She’s totally out of his league; he’s not her type at all. They absolutely should not sleep together. Which is, of course, why they do.

With a bag filled with cash, Helena and Bob get up to one legendary weekend, in a wet and miserable midsummer in Edinburgh. From self-loathing hangovers and wedding bust-ups, to car chases and midnight trysts, MIDSUMMER promises a great night out. “You float out laughing as if you’ve just swallowed sunshine on a spoon” – Guardian UK *****

MIDSUMMER is a hilarious romantic comedy written by award-winning David Greig and top Edinburgh singer-songwriter Gordon McIntyre. It’s nothing like Shakespeare, or a Musical – though it does have a few songs for good measure.

Don’t miss this New Zealand premiere performed with comic mastery by Kate Prior (Nothing Trivial, Go Girls) and Byron Coll (Mr Marmalade, the All Blacks MasterCard ads). Award-winning director Lyndee-Jane Rutherford delivers us this unmissable treat for the senses.

“Midsummer is utter joyful pleasure” – The List

“Irresistible and unmissable.” – Herald

Contains mature content. Recommended for patrons aged 15 and above.

Check out Circa's blog, drama on the waterfront, for a post about Midsummer stars Kate Prior and Byron Coll and an inside look at how they feel about this 'gem' of a play. In another post on drama on the waterfront, director Lyndee-Jane Rutherford discusses her process for this delightful play.


A added benefit for Midsummer ticket buyers:

TAMARA SPA - with every Midsummer ticket you buy you receive a Tamara Spa discount voucher.


35yr olds get the Senior's discount on WEDNESDAYS (2, 9 and 16 October)
Why? Because Bob and Helena “agree that thirty five’s a sh*# age”, and MIDSUMMER wants to make it all a bit better. Come have a laugh – show your ID at the box office when buying your MIDSUMMER ticket to qualify for the discount!


Running time: 90 minutes (no interval)


Cast and crew

Starring Byron Coll and Kate Prior

Show times

21 September − 19 October

Tuesday to Saturday 7.30pm

Sunday 4.30pm

Ticket prices

$46 Adults

$38 Concessions

$33 Friends of Circa (until 6 October)

$39 Groups 6+

$36 Groups 20+

$25 Under 25s


David Greig's play lets you laugh your way into wisdom.

By Elspeth Sandys, New Zealand Listener, 24 September, 2013

Something quite wonderful has been going on in Scotland for the last few decades: the remaking of Glasgow as a European centre of culture; the rise of Scottish nationalism; a surge of creativity in the arts that has resonated, and continues to resonate, around the world.

Full marks, then, to Circa Theatre for tuning into this excitement, then hard wiring it into a standout production by Lyndee-Jane Rutherford of Midsummer, a play with songs by celebrated Scottish playwright David Greig and his musical collaborator, Gordon McIntyre (songwriter for Edinburgh indie band Ballboy).

Greig, at forty-something, has a formidable list of plays and films to his name, covering a wide range of subjects, but united by a common concern to establish connections between people, particularly those from widely different socio-economic or cultural backgrounds.

Midsummer is no exception. The two protagonists – Bob (a brilliantly understated Byron Coll) and Helena (Kate Prior in sizzling form) – come from diametrically opposed worlds. Helena is a hard-working, hard-partying, Edinburgh divorce lawyer; Bob is a petty criminal, “with no defining features”, who reads Dostoevsky to cheer himself up and dreams of a life of busking and reading poetry (his own) in pubs. Although both actors play a number of roles, necessary to the unfolding of this contemporary fairy story, it is as the two accidental lovers that they raise almost constant laughter and, keeping faith with the underlying seriousness of the piece, touch more than one sensitive nerve.

The music would be unremarkable were it not for the lyrics, which are in turn hilarious and poignant. The hangover song – “If my hangover were a country it would be Belgium” – almost brought the house down. As did Bob’s conversation with an unmentionable part of his anatomy.

But the true brilliance of this play is in the writing. Greig spins a complex web of thoughts, dialogue and third-person observation, jumping back and forth in time, replaying scenes from a different point of view, all the time keeping in focus the need to advance the action, while fleshing out the back stories of his lost, lonely and oh so lovable hero and heroine.

How do you live a meaningful life? How do you deal with the inevitability of aging and dying in this resolutely secular world? These are the questions Greig asks against a backdrop of Edinburgh’s centuries-old castle (set design by Ian Harman). If you want to know the answers, go to Circa, see Midsummer and laugh your way into wisdom.

MIDSUMMER, by David Greig and Gordon McIntyre, directed by Lyndee-Jane Rutherford,Circa Two, Wellington, until October 19; Silo Theatre has a separate production of the play at Q Theatre, Auckland, October 24-November 23.

Other reviews

Laurie Atkinson, The Dominion Post, 24 September 2013

John Smythe, Theatreview, 23 September, 2013

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