Review - Glory Ride - Charing Cross Theatre, London


Glory Ride - Charing Cross Theatre, London

Having seen this show 6 months ago in a staged concert form I was very excited to attend this press night and see the full production this story deserves.

This is not a well known story in England, but in Italy Gino Bartali is a renowned Tour De France cyclist and Hero. In this show written by father-daughter team Todd and Victoria Bucholz we learn of the incredible work Gino (Josh St.Clair) did; using his cycling career as a cover, Gino cycled 1000s of miles across Italy with falsified ID cards hidden in the frame of his bike, to help persecuted Jews escape Mussolini's fascist regime. Gino never spoke about what he did, he didn’t want the glory so we only know this story thanks to the people he saved.

Though it sounds like a story that would make for a dreary, depressing musical, this show is actually a story of joy and humanity. It’s a heart-warming tale with love and community at its heart.

This truly is an ensemble show, every member of the cast is strong and they carry each other through to the end. Josh St. Clair is an outstanding leading man as Gino, played with a perfect mix of celebrity ego moving into wonderful humility later in the piece.

Fed Zanni as Major Mario Carita is incredible, playing a character who just wants to belong and finds themselves on the wrong side of history. Fed has a big challenge here, one which he succeeds at greatly.

There is some comedy relief in this story, mainly coming in the character of Nico (Daniel Robinson) who is a bumbling accountant and master document forger. Daniel has such a delightful warm quality that you can’t help but fall in love with Nico.  The song ‘They Call Me Silent’ is beautifully delivered.

Our leading lady is fantastically brought to life by Amy Di Bartolomeo, who’s talent is breath-taking, with a voice that brings goose bumps, you can’t help but be blown away by her performance. Amy has no trouble playing the headstrong Adriana who knows what she wants and is willing to take big risks to help the resistance.

A special mention must be given to Ruairidh McDonald as Felix who’s rendition of ‘A Minor Thing, a War’ is showstopping, receiving the biggest applause of the night it’s a performance that brings tears to your eyes.

The design of this show is very well thought out from designer PJ McEvoy, with the main design being of Florence town square, then the addition of church benches or office desks easily transform the space.

This story is one which everyone should hear, it’s a beautifully told tale of just how strong the human spirit can be in the face of adversity. With delightful songs and powerful performances from all involved.

This show was reviewed on the 28th April 2023.  Glory Ride runs at The Charing Cross Theatre until the 29th July 2023.  Tickets available here: www.Gloryridemusical.com

***** stars

Rosie Browne

Catch Rosie every Monday from 12pm for 'The Musical Lunch Box' here on Box Office Radio

Photo credit: Marc Brenner

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