When former teacher Carol (Jane Thornton) suffers the loss of her husband, Rob, she’s in pieces. Finding it hard to move on from the pain that his brain tumour caused, and crying every day, months after his death, she crosses paths with retired miner Don (John Godber OBE). Don’s recently said goodbye to his wife, who passed away after an illness.
After enjoying a coffee or two together, they decide to embark on one of Jane’s bucket list items – a bike ride from Yorkshire to Florence. But things aren’t smooth. From sharing a one-man tent in the middle of a field when they get lost, to discovering the result of Brexit mid-cycle, there’s a lot to circumnavigate to get this budding relationship moving in the right direction.
It certainly can’t help that Carol’s a remainer, and hospital porter Don voted leave, because ‘the NHS will get £350 million a week’. Yes, we all know how that’s working out.
John Godber, the son of a Yorkshire miner, is a name that many of you may have come across. His plays are performed across the world, and they’ve been seen by nearly a quarter of a million people.
The BAFTA-winning (which he won for original writing for Odd-Squad) actor portrays working-class Don perfectly – a fantastic mix between the innocent belief that politicians will do what they say, and the caring, sweet man, that really just wants to have an easy life, and be happy with Carol. In the first act especially, Godber had the audience in stitches for a solid 40 minutes.
Jane Thornton – Godber’s wife in real life – flicked perfectly between depicting Carol, and Don’s late wife, Jean, in flashback scenes. Her engagement with the audience came naturally, and made us feel at ease with the characters on stage.
The chemistry between the two actors was clear, and they manage a feat that many of us couldn’t – both living with and working with their spouse! The comedy in Godber’s writing is perfectly relevant, and provokes an important discussion about the state of British politics, and the sense in believing politicians.
The Trafalgar Studios has been showing some absolute corkers recently, and Scary Bikers doesn’t disappoint.
Reviewed by Luisa Gottardo
Photo: Antony Robling
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