Midsummer (A Play With Songs) takes us on a wild tour of Edinburgh | Theater Review | Chicago Reader

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Midsummer (A Play With Songs) takes us on a wild tour of Edinburgh

Love, music, and a little bit of crime add up to a madcap midlife caper in David Greig's comedy.


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Who hasn't had a weekend of drunken debauchery in Edinburgh? For those who haven't, Midsummer (A Play With Songs) by David Greig, directed by Randy White and produced here by Greenhouse Theater Center and Proxy Theatre, is a fast-paced, funny look at love, life, and the ache of aging. It is the story of Helena and Bob, how they met, got drunk, and the crazy weekend that followed—basically Before Sunrise meets Once.

Delightfully dancing between a first- and third-person narrative, often breaking the fourth wall, Chaon Cross and Patrick Mulvey are outstanding as the two lovers. They sing songs (written by Gordon McIntyre of Scottish indie band Ballboy) about hangovers, bondage, and broken hearts, alternating among guitar, ukulele, and keyboard, and all with stellar Scottish accents.

Helena and Bob have secrets and regrets. In their 30s, they find themselves wanting to make a change. Their banter with each other, and with the audience, is playful and thoughtful. There is great philosophy amid the decadence of their weekend. There is also a disastrous wedding, a Tesco bag full of cash, low-level criminality and violence, a wild visit to a nightclub, and the most hilarious sex scene I have seen onstage.

Midsummer explores the hope we all share that we can change our lives, that we are not all destined to be eternal screwups. Set designer Mark F. Smith and lighting designer Brandon Wardell create moments of magic and wonder that reflect the show's energy and tone. Full of laughs and tinged with hope, it will leave you wanting more time with these great characters.   v

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