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“Expanded romcom loses some of its magic”

When David Greig and Gordon McIntyre’s joyous pocket romcom with songs premiered at the Traverse in 2008, it was a compact two-hander. For this year’s Edinburgh International Festival it’s been reworked and expanded. Now it stars four actors instead of two, older and younger versions of the mismatched protagonists, and features a band of actor-musicians who occasionally do double-duty as secondary characters.

The grand hall at the Hub has been decked out for a wedding. Henry Pettigrew and Sarah Higgins play Bob and Helena, a petty criminal and lawyer respectively, who have a drunken one-night stand. Both are at low points in their life and they find solace in each other.

While Greig and McIntyre’s play is no less charming than it was, Kate Hewitt’s production expends a lot of energy on filling the space. Pettigrew and Higgins, and Benny Young and Eileen Nicholas as the older versions of the characters, have to do a lot of running about and clambering up ladders.

The performances are all great, there are still very many sweet moments as well some genuinely poignant and funny ones, and it remains an effective love letter to Edinburgh, but the production strains to create the same magic as the earlier version. There’s also less sense of jeopardy since Bob and Helena appear to have ended up together.

Time doesn’t stand still, people grow and change, as does the world. You cannot stop that, nor should you try, but part of the beauty of the original was its lo-fi nature, the way it spun so much from so little, and that’s been lost.

Production Details
Production nameMidsummer
VenueThe Hub
StartsAugust 2, 2018
EndsAugust 26, 2018
Running time1hr 30mins
AuthorDavid Greig, Gordon Mcintyre
DirectorKate Hewitt
Musical directorGordon Mcintyre
Set designerCecile Tremolieres
Lighting designerTim Mascall
Sound designerNico Menghini
CastHenry Pettigrew, Benny Young, Clarissa Cheong, Eileen Nicholas, Pete Harvey, Reuben Joseph, Sarah Higgins
Stage managerMarina Kilby
ProducerNational Theatre of Scotland
VerdictExpanded version of David Greig and Gordon McIntyre's romcom sacrifices some of its magic
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Natasha Tripney

Natasha Tripney

Natasha Tripney

Natasha Tripney

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