RAUNCHY ROM-COM WORTH THE WAIT
MIDSUMMER – A Play with Songs
Written by David Greig and Gordon McIntyre
Directed by Lyndee-Jane Rutherford
at Circa Two, Wellington
From 21 Sep 2013 to 19 Oct 2013
Reviewed by Laurie Atkinson, 24 Sep 2013
originally published in The Dominion Post
It's amazing that it has taken so long for this raunchy mid-life crisis romantic comedy about two 35 year olds that premiered in Edinburgh in 2008 to finally reach New Zealand.
It's a funny, arresting, touching two-hander about Helena, a hard drinking divorce lawyer in an unhappy affair with a married man and Bob, a small-time crook with an unfulfilled desire to be a modern day wandering minstrel.
It takes place over a rain-soaked long-weekend in midsummer Edinburgh which is boldly suggested in Ian Harman's stony evocation of Auld Reekie. Bob is reading Dostoevsky to cheer himself up in a wine bar when he is picked up by Helena whose lover has failed to appear.
They wake up the next day in Helena's bed with hangovers (cue for duet ‘If My Hangover…') and immediately avow not to see each other again. This is of course a rom-com and when they do meet again they are running hell for leather down Princess Street, Bob to the bank and Helena to a church where she is meant to be the bridesmaid at her sister's marriage.
They both realise that they are a bit too old for this sort of activity but they go off on a spur of the moment gleeful farewell to their youth before middle-age takes over completely. They end up in the Princess St Gardens with teenage Goths and a plastic bag full of cash. Their lost weekend ends in a sleazy bar caught up in a Japanese rope bondage session.
But all the time they know that they are going to have to change their lives; even the Castle car park ticket machine suggests change is possible. But can they do this individually or together? And for once you are kept guessing right to the very end.
The comedy veers off into surprising riffs such as Bob's conversation with his rigid member and Helena's altercation with her teenage nephew. And Kate Prior and Byron Coll are two warm, likeable performers who make us care for Helena and Bob and they also have fun playing the minor characters. It's a sure fire winner.
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