THEATRE REVIEW: The Scary Bikers, Theatre Royal Wakefield (then touring)

John Godber and Jane Thornton in The Scary Bikers.
John Godber and Jane Thornton in The Scary Bikers.

In a week when politicians of all parties and persuasions are urging us to unite around Brexit and put a positive spin on life after the EU, it is more than apt that prolific playwright John Godber premiers his latest play The Scary Bikers.

The majority of the narrative takes place on the eve of and just after the referendum.

The naive optimism of the Brexiteers and the utter despair of the remainers is played out through the eyes of retired miner Don and former teacher Carol, portrayed sensitively by husband and wife team John Godber and Jane Thornton.

Brought together at a bereavement group after the death of their spouses, Don and Carol discover a mutual interest in cycling and after only knowing each other for a matter of weeks embark upon a gruelling tandem ride through Europe - testing their newly-found friendship to the core.

Neither are in the first flush of youth and as they get lost and saddle-sore they wonder if setting off to ride through Europe on the very day the UK decided it wanted out was necessarily a good thing.

They argue passionately, both unable to concede any ground until they eventually decide they must each live with the consequences and agree to differ if they are to get through their trip.

Two-handers like this don’t always work but Godber and Thornton are old hands and the warm relationship between the characters is natural and believable.

A couple of other characters are introduced - the ghosts of Don’s wife Jean and Carol’s husband Rob which, particularly in Don’s case, add poignancy to his feelings of grief.

His utter conviction that the NHS would benefit from the £350m promised by Boris Johnson is in response to the marvellous care received by his wife prior to her death and his main reason for voting to leave Europe.

The Scary Bikers may deal with heavyweight political topics but Godber’s lightness of touch and his sharp northern wit make for an enjoyable evening - the guffaws of laughter from the audience testament that his writing is as sharp as ever.

Until February 17, the touring to:

Hull Truck Theatre - Feb 27-March 3

Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough - April 3-7

Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield - April 13-14

Cast, Doncaster - April 26-28