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Midsummer

Bharatiya Ashram, Dundee
Four stars

The central wisdom of playwright David Greig and composer and songwriter Gordon McIntyre's lo-fi musical rom-com as gleaned from an underground car park ticket machine is that change is possible. With this in mind, director Ros Philips takes such everyday philosophy by the scruff of the neck and runs with it to blazes in her Dundee Rep Ensemble production that forms the company's latest community tour.

Where the play was originally performed in 2008 by two actors, Philips does it with a cast of eight, as thirty-something lost souls Bob and Helena's wild weekend after falling together in an Edinburgh bar is charted by a cagoule-clad chorus who double up as assorted waifs, strays and hangers-on the pair meet en route. While this may lose something in terms of manic urgency, it also fleshes out what begins as a drunken one-night stand and ends with what might just be a dream come true. As they pause for breath inbetween scampering from one end of the city to the other, both Bob and Helena must also face up to some pretty serious home truths.

With Jo Freer and Martin McBride playing the couple with a mix of booze-soaked swagger and after-hours vulnerability, on one level this is a blurred set of snapshots of what passes for the twenty-first century dating game in all its messy state of apparent independence. As performed on designer Leila Kalbassi's Google Earth image of auld Reekie, it's also a love letter to the city that sired it and, with McIntyre's bittersweet songs ringing in your ears, an affirmation of love, lust and the power of yes in a glorious seven year itch of a show.

The Herald, October 28th 2015

ends

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