Symphonie of the Bicycle

The Space Theatre. Bare stage but for a large brown screen. Nothing to see there. 

Lights and Music 

Mozart’s Requiem rises to a crescendo and Hew Parham leaps out in a blaze of light, lifting his arms in seeming triumph. Through the next hour and a half Hew takes us through a kaleidoscope of events and emotions. As a young boy Hew had, as many of us do, dreams of being a success. Life took him on other paths while his friend Jake succeeded both in sport and in love. Somehow, mingled in this theme of disappointment and disillusionment we are introduced to the man who lost his  horse but invented of the bicycle, then Gino Bartali, a winner of the Giro d’Italia, who was also a war hero, Gavin Chestnut, a former cyclist now turned motivational guru, an Italian family, a little old lady with a small dog, and the list goes on. 

Rather than confusing it all comes to together through the skill of Hew Parham who also wrote the script. He has the elasticity of a man who trained as a clown, together with the essential gift of being able to create different characters simply through his voice, his expression  and his stance.  He is all agility and energy, drawing the threads of the  characters and their stories together so that in the end Hew, comes to see himself and the world in a happier light. Life presents different challenges and it is how one faces these that lives can be judged. Only one man can win the Tour de France, but the who comes in last is also rewarded just for staying to the distance.

Praise must be given to Chris Drummond as Director and Dramaturg, to the voice coach Anna Mcrossin-Owen, Wendy Todd, set, lighting and costume design and Will Spartalus for the music which perfectly blended with the action on stage. Their combined work helped to bring the Symphonie to life.

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