WILD AND WHIMSICAL
Reflecting on the time I had served what felt like a life sentence in history class just waiting for a new tomorrow to arrive, if someone had promised me that actor Brandon McGibbon would be introducing a Jesus and Mary Chain number at the opening of a play at the Tarragon someday soon, I’d have insisted they check the back of their scalp for signs of a head injury.
Flash forward to May 2017 where not just the unthinkable is unfolding, it’s doing so with such Danny Boyle (Trainspotting) envisioned silliness that Edinburgh ecstasy is calling all of us for the next chapter of our lives.
Just confess one thing before high tailing it to Bridgman Street for the outrageous fun: Alcohol and sex may be the foundation of all great rock n roll albums throughout time but it historically gets the rest of us in a heap of trouble.
There is very little sign of conventional playwriting in this nutter of a tale set in the late 80s where the things that people really want are always getting clouded by the things they ought not to be doing.
The mystical Medium Bob (Brandon McGibbon) and the secret rearing man hunter Helena (Carly Street) are prime candidates for this truism. Although both ache for a meaningful connection, they are painfully aware that the rules of engagement allow for two people to just ‘forget who you are and just get it on.’
This is a uniquely strange place that director Tamara Bernier Evans drops playgoers into unexpectedly. It’s got Elmo popping up under the blankets, a crimson Gibson that needs strumming, a bank deposit that fails to make the end of day door lock, goth kids coming along for the free ride, and need we report the dialogue exchange between a man and own his penis.
At times if feels like an extended he said/she said sketch but this is a storytelling escape vehicle that can go the full distance with a younger theatre generation with its smart music selection and endless laughter.
Is the show a salute to one night stands? Perhaps a promise that things can only get better?
Size it up whichever way you please; Midsummer is wild and whimsical storytelling at its finest.
MIDSUMMER (a play with songs) by David Greig and Gordon McIntyre April 18 – May 28, 2017 TARRAGON THEATRE, 30 Bridgman, Avenue, Toronto TICKETS $29.00 – $65.00 www.tarragontheatre.com 416-531-1827 CAST Brandon McGibbon and Carly Street DIRECTOR Tamara Bernier Evans LIGHTING Nick Andison COSTUMES Kathleen Johnston SET Graeme S. Thomson MUSIC DIRECTOR Sam Sholdice STAGE MANAGER Nicola Benidickson