Skip to main content

Midsummer

The Hub
Four stars

The wedding band are already playing when the audience enter the National Theatre of Scotland’s scaled-up revival of David Greig and Gordon McIntyre’s play with songs. A decade ago when it premiered, it was a zero-budget DIY rom-com with two actors playing Helena and Bob, the oddest of couples who collide into one another and accidentally go on a lost weekend to end them all. Today, Kate Hewitt’s production has Eileen Nicholas and Benny Young play the older version of Helena and Bob, unveiling their possibly unreliable memoirs and looking back at their younger selves, played with sweaty abandon by Sarah Higgins and Henry Pettigrew.  

This makes for a busy and at times frenetic ninety minutes, as the cross-generational quartet cavort among discarded wooden tables, moving from wine bar to bedroom to sex club, taking in some of Edinburgh’s lesser-spotted sights as they go. At times this has the feel of an adult It’s a Knockout party game set to music. The latter is provided by long-time stalwarts of Edinburgh’s ever-fertile off-radar music scenes, bass player Clarissa Cheong and cellist Pete Harvey, plus actor-musician Reuben Joseph.

While the combination of Greig’s script and McIntyre’s songs remain a love letter to Edinburgh, splitting the words between older and younger voices gives things an extra layer of personal ennui. Helena and Bob lived to tell the tale of their mad, debauched adventure, they can remember the first time, and are still together and possibly still crazy after all these years. This isn’t, then, a tale of lost opportunities, but of Bob and Helena’s willingness to take a chance on each other in a way that changes their lives forever. As they grab at every moment from the past, present and possible future, they make those moments matter more with every telling.

The Herald, August 7th 2018


ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Art School Dance Goes On Forever – Snapshots Of Masters Of The Multiverse

Intro – Snapshots – Deaf School

1

In 1980, the same year as the Manchester band, Magazine, released a 7
inch single called A Song From Under The Floorboards – a three verse
and chorus distillation of Dostoyevsky's novel, Notes From Underground
– an art school scandal occurred.

This scandal took place in Liverpool, and was based around a project
called the Furbelows, although it became better known in the Liverpool
Echo and other organs that reported it as the Woolly Nudes.

The Furbelows, or Woolly Nudes, were a group of artists who had come
out of Liverpool College of Art, who, dressed in grotesque woolly
costumes which featured knitted approximations of male and female
genitalia, made assorted public interventions around the city centre as
kind of living sculptures acting out assorted narratives.

The Furbelows project had been funded by what was then Merseyside Arts
Association, and, after the participants were arrested and taken to
court on obscenity charges after what…

Peter Brook – The Prisoner

Peter Brook is no stranger to Scotland, ever since the guru of European and world theatre first brought his nine-hour epic, The Mahabharata, to Glasgow in 1988. That was at the city’s old transport museum, which by 1990 had become Tramway, the still-functioning permanent venue that opened up Glasgow and Scotland as a major channel for international theatre in a way that had previously only been on offer at Edinburgh International Festival.
Brook and his Paris-based Theatre des Bouffes du Nord company’s relationship with Tramway saw him bring his productions of La Tragedie de Carmen, La Tempete, Pellease et Mellisande, The Man Who…, and Oh Les Beaux Jours – the French version of Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days – to Glasgow.
Thirty years on from The Mahabharata, Brook comes to EIF with another piece of pan-global theatre as part of a residency by Theatre des Bouffes du Nord, which Brook has led since he decamped to Paris from London in the early 1970s. The current Edinburgh residency has alr…

Romeo And Juliet - Shakespeare's Globe Comes to Glasgow

Open-air Shakepeares are a summer-time perennial of the theatre calendar, attracting picnicking audiences as much as midges. More often than not, such romps through the grass are frothy, heritage industry affairs designed to be accompanied by strawberries and cream and not to be taken too seriously. Shakespeare’s Globe theatre company look set to change such perceptions when they open their outdoor tour of Romeo And Juliet in Glasgow next week as part of the West End festival.

For the two young actors taking the title roles of the doomed lovers, it will also be something of a homecoming. Richard Madden and Ellie Piercy both studied in Glasgow prior to turning professional. Indeed, Madden has yet to graduate from the acting course at RSAMD, and, as well as facing the pressures of playing such a meaty role in close proximity to the audience, will have the added anxiety of being assessed and graded by his tutors.

“This is the end of my third year,” says Madden following a Saturday mornin…