Midsummer (4 stars)


Traverse, Edinburgh, until Sat 15 Nov


Ah, the romcom: an often-derided form in cinema, easily discarded as lightweight. In the decidedly heavyweight world of the theatre, it’s unmentionable. Sometimes, though, it’s necessary to make art out of the sheer joy to be found in life and falling in love, and that’s what David Greig’s lovely little two-hander does, with all the classy poise and exuberant bounce of a really good pop song.

One wet weekend, Helena and Bob, both 35 and unhappy, meet, drink, screw, run around Edinburgh and fall in love, and, thanks to two sparkly, charismatic performances from Cora Bissett and Matthew Pidgeon, somehow manage to reinvigorate the tired old subject matter of the mid-30s crisis.

Greig’s script zips around the city, never content to stick to a straight format when it could bubble off into parodies of movies or morning television shows, or a mock-conference inside a character’s head, using the audiences as delegates. Then there are Gordon ‘ballboy’ Mcintyre’s songs – lovelorn and rueful and gorgeous and witty, popping up to accentuate rather than further the narrative.

The only moment that rings false is a shonky sub-plot involving a local gangster, and even then it’s just because Pidgeon’s Bob is too darn likeable to be convincing as even a crap petty criminal. Midsummer is utter, joyful pleasure, and if you don’t come out smitten, you just aren’t my sort of person.

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