- Kelly Apter
- 11 June 2014
Visible Fictions' bike-based theatre show is a remarkably silly, thoroughly enjoyable hour
You look for your row, find your seat and sit down – that’s your average theatre experience. But in this special year of sporting activity, Glasgow-based theatre company Visible Fictions has come up with an entirely new way to enjoy drama.
You still have to find your seat – only this time, it’s on a bike. Touring 11 country parks across Scotland, The Spokesmen is a remarkably silly, yet thoroughly enjoyable way to spend an hour.
Climbing onto your bike, and fastening up your helmet (both supplied by Visible Fictions), you head into the forest and embark on your journey, with amiable tour guides Billy and Danny (aka actors Alan McHugh and Simon Donaldson, whose physicality and capacity for creating daft noises seems boundless).
A brief factual intro about your surroundings (different at each venue), is followed by a series of clearly fictional anecdotes involving sea hamsters, dinosaur relics and ghostly Vikings. Each interlude linked by a bike ride through the forest, over a variety of cambers – with help always at hand for anyone struggling.
McHugh and Donaldson do a fine job, but in truth the real star of the show is the park itself, and the joyous freedom of whizzing down a mud track on a mountain bike (which for many grown-ups will be more distant memory than regular occurrence).
After 50 minutes of jokes and japes, the storyline takes an unexpectedly poignant turn, leaving you with a warm feeling that stems from more than just cycling uphill.
Cammo Estate, Edinburgh, Sat 14–Mon 16 Jun, then touring. Reviewed at Almondell Country Park, Livingston.