With Valentine’s Day approaching, many of us turn our thoughts to couplehood– which includes love, of course, and often much more.
|Cora Bissett as Helena with Matthew Pidgeon as Bob in “Midsummer [a play with songs]” by David Grieg, who also directs with songs by Gordon McIntyre. Costumes by Georgia McGuiness. at the Clurman. Photo by Douglas Robertson|
Each year, Carol Tambor heads to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe to sample the unusual and find the play she deems to be “Best of Edinburgh.” The Carol Tambor Theatrical Foundation then presents the play thus designated to New York audiences. Last year the work was “Leo” (See review on these pages.) This year, “Midsummer [a play with songs]”by David Grieg, who also directs, at Theatre Row’s Clurman Theatre through January 26th, shares the Award with “Mies Julie,” currently running at St. Ann’s Warehouse.
“Midsummer [a play with songs]” is an early Valentine’s gift from Ms Tambor to us. In “Midsummer [a play with songs]” romance is a by-product of a quest.
Searching for meaning in booze, sex and bondage (it’s a long story!), Helena (Cora Bissett) and Bob (Matthew Pidgeon) find something far more valuable– friendship and ₤15,000.
When they meet, Bob is reading “Dostoyevsky… to cheer himself up.” Despite his overtly intellectual endeavors, Bob is “a f****** underachiever.” Their match-up is improbable. He is a low to mid level crook, and she’s a swanky divorce lawyer.
|Photo by Douglas Robertson. Helena (Cora Bissett) and Bob (Matthew Pidgeon) in “Midsummer [a play with songs]” by David Grieg, who also directs with songs by Gordon McIntyre. Costumes by Georgia McGuiness.|
“Midsummer [a play with songs]” is not for everyone. Love and romance mingles with philosophical asides and silliness in this not strictly linear tale. Songs are interspersed with the narrative and dialogue. “And so– when you see them — the runners,” Helena says, “weaving and glistening through the crowds– you might think, ‘look at them, the fools, they’re trying to run away from death,’ — but they’re not– they’re honestly not– they’re running towards something….”
The central bed is the all-purpose set, cleverly designed by Georgia McGuiness, which also has convenient storage for some of the props the actors need.
|Photo by Douglas Robertson of Matthew Pidgeon as Bob and Cora Bissett as Helena in “Midsummer [a play with songs]” by David Grieg, who also directs with songs by Gordon McIntyre. Costumes by Georgia McGuiness.|
While you’re in a romantic mood, take your sweetie to see “Perfect Catch,” being reprised at Canal Park Playhouse on Saturdays and Sundays at 1pm and 4pm through February.
“Perfect Catch,” billed as “Throw-mantic Comedy” takes mime and juggling to Hollywood. Just watching
Jen Slaw and Michael Karas toss umbrellas to the soundtrack of “Singing In The Rain” is worth the price of admission.