Spring is often referred to as the season of love. But for Bob and Helena, two unlikely lovers in Edinburgh, the solstice is when the magic happens. Midsummer
is modestly subtitled “a play with songs,” and strictly speaking, that description holds up. This romantic romp from David Greig and Gordon McIntyre is a straight play peppered with duets, meaning it’s not a musical per se. What it is, though, is an almost ridiculously charming piece of theater. Much of the charm in this Third Rail production comes courtesy of the leads. Local favorite Isaac Lamb makes Bob much more than a lovable loser. Sure, he’s a “piss artist” who sells pink convertibles to shady characters and has lengthy conversations with his penis. And, yes, it’s true that among his fellow petty criminals he’s referred to as “Medium Bob” because he has no defining features. But in Lamb’s expert hands, Bob is a hero of romance. Or of romantic comedy, anyway. And Cristi Miles is perfect as the hard-working, hard-drinking yet vulnerable Helena. She and Lamb have palpable chemistry, both when they’re in bed, having drunken sex with a stuffed Elmo watching, and in quieter moments, many of which are set to song. Interestingly, the whip-smart script doesn’t dictate which actor delivers which line. That creative freedom could make Midsummer
either a director’s dearest dream or worst nightmare, but Philip Cuomo is obviously in his element, and the pacing, particularly during Bob and Helena’s debauchery-filled weekend, is exceptionally fluid. Midsummer
is, without a doubt, a love story. But it’s also a rumination on aging, death and how the choices we make shape our fate, for good or ill—and what a good choice this show is.
2257 NW Raleigh St.Website: http://www.thirdrailrep.org/events.php?show=29