For those of us whose feelings veer between frustrated anger and fear about our future status, Brexit is never far from our minds. We all have our different opinions but none of us disagree on the shameful disgrace that is the UK government farce where nobody seems capable of organising the proverbial in a brewery. But as the drama plays out in Westminster another has presented itself for our approval, but this time with characters who have a good deal more credibility.
The Amsterdam based QE2 theatre company is stealing a march on renowned playwright John Godber by staging his new(ish) play Scary Bikers a few days before it opens in London’s West End.
It tells the story of the unlikely liaison between Don and Carol, both of whom have recently lost their spouses and who share a love of cycling and an acceptance that life must go on. Set in, of course, Yorkshire, suburban Carol persuades rough diamond ex-miner Don to go on a cycling holiday to Florence. There are obvious metaphors throughout the play about Brexit – Don, predictably for, Carol against – as well as forthright discussions about it, as we’ve all had.
As you can imagine, the staging of such a play is challenging, to say the least. Scenes include a café, a hospital, a suburban semi, the Yorkshire Moors and a field in Belgium to mention just a few. All this, and lots of quick changes, is achieved with the minimum of fuss, augmented by an impressive and expensive selection of Lycra, shiny bikes and a heavy duty tandem.
Scary Bikers is a two-hander and actors Loveday Smith and Mark Winstanley excel, not only as Carol and Don but also as their respective late lamented spouses. The performances are particularly good in the first act when the couple meet and their relationship develops, We also learn their backstories through a series of flashbacks. Loveday’s transformation from sad though smiling Carol into Don’s scowling, loud-mouth dying-of-cancer wife was particularly effective and impressive.
So, two excellent, often moving performances portraying the growing tender relationship between two lost souls who find solace, if not comfort, on the saddles of a bicycle made for two.
Although the first half of the play is fine, the second is a bit too long and there is a certain amount of what borders on ranting. The whole play would sit much happier and be much more effective if it were a bit shorter. Nevertheless, this was another enjoyable production by QE2 and as usual, I shall look forward to their next one. Michael Hasted 30th March 2019
Click here to listen to ArtsTalk Radio’s interview with Loveday Smith and Mark Winstanley.
Tour dates as follows:-
Friday, 5 April 2019, 20:00 – Den Haag
Saturday, 6 April 2019, 20:00 – Den Haag
Sunday, 7 April 2019, 15:00 – Den Haag
Wednesday, 10 April 2019, 20:00 – Leiden
Thursday, 11 April 2019, 20:00 – Amsterdam
Friday, 12 April 2019, 20:00 – Amsterdam
Saturday, 13 April 2019, 20:00 – Amsterdam