Mike and Virginia opened at Circa on Saturday night, and it was 100 minutes of almost non stop laughs.
It is billed as a romantic comedy about romantic comedies. The lead characters of Mike and Virginia are both lecturers in film studies and the audience at times are their class. Virginia is the ice queen who tells you how romantic comedies always have an incompatible couple (due to personality, background etc) who implausibly overcome all barriers to show love conquers all, even though it doesn’t.
Mike is the popular wise cracking Kiwi bloke, who is a published author as well as a lecturer. Of course Virginia hates him, and vice-versa and of course they form the focus of their own romantic comedy.
There is some audience interaction, which was also comic. Mike has a thesis that all films have a monster. He goes through various films such as Shawshank Redemption and asks who the monster is. He then gets to Love Actually and asks the audience who is the monster in that film. The woman behind me yells out “the writer” and we’re all in hysterics.
There were five actors making up the cast, and while in some plays there are one or two stand outs, I thought in this play all five nailed their characters.
Gentiana Lupi (you may have seen her in Eagle vs Shark) was the icy Virginia. Her character started slightly one-dimensional but as the play progressed you saw her sense of humour and playfulness.
Will Hall (Kip from Shortland Street) was perfect for laid back wise cracking Kiwi bloke Mike.
Jennifer Martin was hilarious as the young and beautiful but rather clueless student poet who falls madly in love with, well I won’t give the plot away. But you’ll love her performance.
Stephen Papps and Perry Piercey play the respective best friends of Mike and Virginia – their characters are Harry and Sally!
Papps’ Harry shares his nuggets of wisdom in a very droll fashion and generates aughs a plenty. He just fits the role of down to earth tradesman so well.
Piercey’s Sally is an actor, and gets possibly the best lines of the play. I won’t give too many plot details away but one part of it is how they are meant to be just friends with benefits but Virginia freaks out when Mike holds her hand at one point. She heads home alone complaining to Sally that Mike is getting too intimate. Sally responds with “You’ve had his dick in your mouth with no problems, and you’re complaining that he held your hand!” – classic.
The music and sound effects were done incredibly well, adding to many a dramatic moment with comic effect.
Mike and Virginia was hilariously good fun. Is on until 20 April, and well worth seeing.