Wednesday, December 7

Glory Ride – The Other Palace

A brand-new musical, Glory Ride, makes its first world appearance at The Other Palace in a staged concert performance. Based on the true story of a heroic conspiracy to rescue children from fascist Italy by bicycle, Glory Ride is a tale of passion, friendship, grief and pride.

Glory Ride centres around the beloved Italian athlete Gino Bartali (James Darch), a household name in Italy, who cycled across European countries delivering falsified identity cards to Jewish fugitives in order to save their lives. Darch’s soft baritone voice fits perfectly with the tone of the musical. He portrays the complex and conflicted nature of Gino admirably, making the audience root for the character and feel a sense of familiarity. Gino and his relationship with his family pulls on the heartstrings especially with his brother Giulio (Adrianna Bertola). Bertola characterises a young boy phenomenally well and is extremely expressive, drawing the audience to her in the ensemble.

It is clear from the opening number that the ensemble will be the heart of the full production. Moments where the cast were singing together were extremely magical. As an audience, we were able to get a glimpse into the possible full staging and sound of the production. Chairs were used to create some staging and at one stage Darch was lifted in the air in the arc of a song, showcasing one of the many moments where dance and movement can be used. An echo sound was used in scenes in the church which added perfectly to the drama and tone of the scene.

Photo: Piers Foley

Despite being a workshop, the characters were distinct and felt developed, with the Italian words and phrases in the script helping to capture the setting. The germaphobe accountant, Giorgio Nico (Matt Blaker) created some light-hearted relief, the character feeling established. Cardinal Dalla Costa (Ricardo Afonso) played an important role in the heist, Afonso depicting the holy figure and his passion towards the cause competently.

A few musical moments showed great promise for a full production. A powerful duet between Gino and Adriana (Daisy Wood-Davis), ‘Never Learnt To Say Goodbye’ was particularly moving. The chemistry between Gino and Adriana was clear, with Wood-Davis’ sweet and well-tuned voice harmonising seamlessly with Darch. Conflicted violinist Felix (Marcus Harman) had a wonderfully moving solo, his voice controlled and accomplished. Major Mario Carita (Neil McDermott) provided great conflict in the plot, McDermott’s voice intriguing and controlled. If the show goes to a full production, with further rehearsal and confidence McDermott’s full potential will definitely shine on stage.

This show deals with important historic issues, encapsulating many emotions and the conflict between trying to do the right thing and going against the grain. The songs and characters have plenty of heart and with full rehearsal and polish, this production could be quite special.

Glory Ride is currently playing at The Other Palace theatre until 16 November 2022. Last minute tickets can be purchased from: https://theotherpalace.co.uk/glory-ride-a-new-musical/

Age: 12+

Trigger warnings: Some scenes depicting death and violence

Reviewer: Maani Way

Reviewed: 14th November 2022

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★

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