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Cycling drama a 'feminist reinterpretation of Kipling’s If, reimagined for the stage'





A rediscovery of cycling helps Kit keep her head when others around her are losing theirs... From an original idea by Newbury Road Cycling Club member Cassie Friend - https://www.newburytoday.co.uk/lifestyle/theatre-on-2-wheels-conceived-by-newbury-road-cycling-club-m-9301546/ - On Track’s witty script draws on many of the experiences we shared as a country during lockdown.

On Track at the Corn Exchange, Newbury, on Tuesday, March 7. Review by TONY TRIGWELL-JONES

Redcape Theatre’s gently affecting On Track is an absolute triumph!

On Track, picture CATHERINE HADLER
On Track, picture CATHERINE HADLER

Like a feminist reinterpretation of Kipling’s If, reimagined for the stage.

We meet successful single mum Kit, facing the first Covid-19 lockdown with her two children, Danielle and Lexi, and witness how her rediscovery of cycling helps her keep her head when all others around her are losing theirs.

Catherine Dyson’s witty script draws on many of the experiences we shared as a country, from the initial optimism of home-school planning and Joe Wicks workouts, to the creeping malaise of social exclusion. These are all presented with a tremendous lightness of touch, so the more cathartic moments catch you off guard.

On Track picture CATHERINE HADLER
On Track picture CATHERINE HADLER

Alongside the narrative, we are also treated to a potted history of women in cycling, from late-19th-century activists to Jenny Graham’s world record beating circumnavigation.

Based on an original idea by Newbury’s Cassie Friend, who performed the piece between lockdowns in May 2021, there remains a biographical feel to the play, which adds to the emotional heft.

Pip Hambly gives a masterclass in solo performance, keeping the audience with Kit through success and disaster, solitude and salvation. Her extraordinary and physical performance provides many high points, particularly the exquisite puppetry that ensures we completely believe in the characters of the two girls.

Martin West’s simple, steel-cube set provides opportunities for much creative invention, while also emphasising the cabin-fever that Kit comes to experience. Meanwhile, the thoughtful sound design by Dan Bryan sets the tone for environments, emotions and at-home exercise.

Combining good humour, empathy, and live cycling, we share Kit’s hunger for freedom and the feeling her new hobby allows her.

As the rest of the world falls apart, it is her bike that keeps her and her family on track.



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