Midsummer (a play with songs) – La Boite Theatre

Cora Bissett and Matthew Pidgeon in Midsummer
Cora Bissett and Matthew Pidgeon in Midsummer (a play with songs). Image by Lisa Tomasetti 2012

If Love was a Hangover …

Midsummer (a play with songs) is a Rom-Com indie play springing from the wild  imagination of  UK’s leading playwright, David Greig and top Scottish singer/songwriter from folk-pop outfit Ballboy.

Set in a Scotland bar with reminisces of an 80’s electronic music video set, one side hers, one side his, with a big four post bed in the middle separating (or consummating) them.

It starts innocently enough – two 30-something people past their prime and passing time in a bar – one a divorce lawyer (Helena), who seemingly is in control of her life and has it all together, but hiding a secret even she can’t face, and the other, a petty thief-come poet (Bob), is waiting to do a shady deal.

What ensues is an unlikely one-night stand, which turns into a two-day bender in the streets of Scotland, with copious amounts of stolen cash, top shelf alcohol, a run away bridesmaid, goths, and Japanese rope bondage, all tied into an endurance adventure of excess.

Midsummer (a play with songs), is a drunkenly chaotic and touchingly sober tale which, transverses one of those blurry nights that gets told down the generations, each time a little more colourful than the last. With Helen holding dear to every detail and Bob who never lets the truth get in the way of a good story, the tale is told and re-told from each of their slightly different points of view – switching seamlessly between narration, dialogue, and first person text.

Cora Bissett and Matthew Pidgeon. Image by Lisa Tomasetti
Cora Bissett and Matthew Pidgeon. Image by Lisa Tomasetti

If Midsummer (a play with songs), was an action movie it would be called The Hangover III (but with songs). In fact, Helen and Bob sing an ode to the Hangover, which was soberingly hilarious. Complimented with the intimacy of two acoustic guitars, a ukulele (and a surprise electric rock number), the songs interspersed throughout added poignancy, comedy and variation, although the story and actors were strong enough to not need it.

Olivier Award winner Cora Bissett, played Helen with charisma and spunk – a giving actor whose not afraid to wear her heart (and puke) on her sleeve.

Matthew Pidgeon, played the straight man with ‘no distinguishing features’, and the perfect compliment to Cora’s gregariousness.

Add to that a charming Scottish accent and the play is a sure fire hit. (Why is it that jokes are just funnier with an accent?!)

Originating at Edinburgh’s Traverse Theatre Company, the production went onto a sell-out season at the Edinburgh Festival and has toured the UK, US, Ireland, and Australia with a rendezvous at the Sydney Opera House.

Midsummer (a play with songs) is not your average indie-pop musical. In fact, the production was set up to create the kind of anti-musical that people who don’t frequent the theatre would enjoy. The sentiment certainly hit the mark and is to be recommended to both enthusiasts and non-theatre goers alike.

Bobbi-Lea Dionysius

Bobbi-Lea is AussieTheatre.com's QLD Co-ordinator, writer, reviewer, and reporter. She is also an actor, presenter, and theatre/film producer for Drama Queen Productions in Brisbane. Bobbi-Lea holds a Degree in Music Theatre as well as a Degree in Film & TV, and is currently doing her Masters in Screen Production.

Bobbi-Lea Dionysius

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