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Midsummer (a play with songs)

David Greig and Gordon McIntyre
Traverse Theatre Production
Tricycle Theatre
(2010)

Midsummer (a play with songs) production photo

'Change is Possible' says the ticket machine at the Castle Terrace car park in Edinburgh and perhaps that is just what divorce lawyer Helena and car sales Bob are in need of - but not yet. It's his birthday, his thirty-fifth, and she's about the same and they are caught up in the idea that life as all about sex, drink and rock and roll.

There is a big bed in the middle of Georgia McGuinness's set and a guitar on either side of it. The duo play on all of them - almost as soon as things start they are writhing on the sheets.

She's got a bottle of wine she wants to share and a drunken weekend which involves a missed wedding (where Helena is supposed to be a bridesmaid for the sixth time), a group of Goths, a room in the poshest hotel in Edinburgh, getting roped-up by a Japanese bondage fetishist, a lot of vomit and hangovers from hell. It is all financed by a plastic bag containing £15k which should be in the bank and which Bob's underworld boss Callaghan will certainly want back. Greig has called this 'a hymn to my own home town' - I wonder what John Knox would think of that.

Matthew Pidgeon (Bob) and Cora Bissett (Helena) pass the telling of the story between them, enact the episodes and break into Gordon McIntyre's songs. They are talented performers as both actors and musicians and everything moves with brio under the direction of the writer.

Those who think vomit funny will probably find the whole show hilarious and it certainly has its very funny moments but there is an undercurrent of taking stock and reappraisal as this pair wake up to approaching middle age and that comes through forcefully in a very funny conversation between Bob and his penis and a sequence between Bob and his son, palyed by Bisset (a dab hand at miming freestyle football), and at times it is touchingly gentle.

At the Tricycle Theatre until 28th January 2011

Philip Fisher reviewed this production at the 2009 Edinburgh Fringe and again at the Soho Theatre in 2010. It was also reviewed by Seth Ewin at the Traverse, Edinburgh

Reviewer: Howard Loxton