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Written by: David Greig and Gordon McIntyre
Directed by: Lyndee-Jane Rutherford
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
Starring Byron Coll and Kate Prior
21 September − 19 October
Tuesday to Saturday 7.30pm
$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 ofMidsummer, 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, seeMidsummer 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.
Contains mature content. Recommended for patrons aged 15 and above.
Running time: 90 minutes (no interval)
NO LATE ADMITTANCE