On Your Bike
Ben James & Jon Venable
Cambridge University Musical Theatre Society
theSpace @ Surgeons Hall
There have been many great musicals over the years, weaving music, dance and song through stories of love, struggle, triumph or sadness. On Your Bike is likely the first to centre around home delivery fried chicken, and the lives of the push-bike couriers who keep the hungry mouths of Britain satiated.
The story revolves around Aiden (Dominic Carrington) and Gemma (Ella Nevill), a pair of delivery bikers for 'Eatsaroo', who struggle through their daily grind, commiserating with their long-suffering fried chicken restaurant-owning friend, Felicity (Claire Lee Shenfield). But Gemma and Aiden’s closer-growing relationship has a spanner thrown in the works with the arrival of Daisy (Emilia Grace), an amorous old school-friend of Aiden’s who also happens to be a PR executive from Eatsaroo’s head office. Will Aiden and Gemma’s budding romance be thwarted? Will Felicity’s restaurant fail? Will the bikers ever unionise? And where can you get decent fried chicken these days anyway?
Honestly, this show is a gem, utterly beyond the scope of what you might expect going in. The script by Jon Venable is ridiculously silly, and delightfully happy to be so. But it hardly matters if it makes logical sense when you’re laughing along, tapping your toes to the songs and genuinely invested in the lives, loves and business success of the quartet of charming characters.
The songs are frankly wonderful, with the cast knocking it out of the park with every number, and with the added bonus that they even throw in a tap-dance number with Shenfield’s feet hammering the boards with a delightful clickety-clack—or should that be cluck?
It’s the perfect pick-me-up show to put a smile on your face: sweet, fun and the charming story doesn’t really have any antagonism. If there’s a real bad guy here, it’s capitalism and possibly bad chicken. I couldn’t recommend this joy of a musical any higher.
Reviewer: Graeme Strachan