Theatre review: Midsummer [a play with songs] (slight return)
Just a quick note about my second trip to see Midsummer, as it's quite late and besides I not only reviewed it last year but also just the other week gave it second place in my shows of 2010. After we saw it at Soho Theatre last year, both Andy's and my first reaction was that we wanted to recommend it to everyone we knew, but by then it had long since sold out. So when it was announced it was returning to London for a longer run at the Tricycle, we each bought six tickets and between us found a dozen people to drag along. I have to admit this meant I went into the show this time with a bit of apprehension in case it wasn't as good as I'd remembered and I got lynched for making half the people I know go to Kilburn. Fortunately David Greig's script is as witty and occasionally moving as I remembered, Gordon McIntyre's songs make for subtle interludes in the narrative (the recurring tune "Love Will Break Your Heart" has been intermittently popping into my head for the past year) and the cast very quickly make you care about their characters, which I think is probably the key to why this show is just that tiny little bit more special than the sum of its parts. The good news is everyone we took enjoyed it as well - I didn't get a chance to speak to everyone properly because there were trains to be caught but my sister said she loved it and Evil Alex did his disturbingly loud laugh a couple of times so it's all good. Everyone particularly singled out Cora Bissett's performance for praise; she is indeed fantastic although to be fair to her co-star Matthew Pidgeon, she does get to play many more characters than him, which always helps make someone stand out. Richard later texted me to say he'd ended up chatting to Bissett for half an hour waiting for a train and she thanked us for introducing so many people to the show so she sounds nice as well (always handy when you've just been praising someone's performance to find out they're not a bastard behind the scenes.)
If you haven't figured out by now that I recommend this show you never will, but once again this is exactly my definition of a feelgood show - like the ending of Avenue Q, Midsummer's fairytale feel is tempered with just enough reality to stop you from being cynical and dismissing it.
Midsummer [a play with songs] by David Greig and Gordon McIntyre is booking until the 29th of January at the Tricyle Theatre.