It was a rainy day in Glasgow today but that did not put off the “Handlebards” from their fab performances of Twelth Night and Romeo and Juliet at the Riverside Museum (2013 Museum of the Year).
“4 men, 4 bikes, 40 characters and a 926 mile adventure” the Handlebards will, for 2 months, travel from Glasgow to London carrying with them all the necessary set, props and costumes to peform the plays!
Twelfth Night was outside, in a grassy area around the side of the Museum. The bards popped out from their tent which was pitched in the middle of the grass. The stage comprised their bikes, with flags roped to the handlebars! A little bit of cord marked the edge of the stage. I enjoyed seeing parts of the bikes and their camping stuff being made into props. Pots and pans made drums. Bike bells made music and rings. Bike pumps doubled as swords. The priest had a cross made of 2 spanners strung on a bike chain. It all appealed to my love of bikes and my love of reusing stuff! The bards changed costumes and moved scenes by flying in one side of the little tent and emerging from the other. Tweed costumes were replaced by net skirts held up by braces and baskets made breasts! (see the photos!). Camping plates became characters held, at times, by members of the audience! Two kids became part of the show, as did I at one point, though thankfully my direction was to “stay still”. I am certainly no actress! A violinist accompanied the bards with an umbrella sheltering her during the shower! It is Glasgow after all! A mouth organ and small string instrument also gave music during romantic moments! The bards slipped slided across the grass like Djokovic at Wimbledon. With energy, humour and real life, even in the inclement conditions, they brought the bard to life!
Romeo and Juliet was staged inside. Juliet sat on her bike rather than her balcony (better for her health I guess!). Camping plates became dancing partners at the masquerade ball, a bike bell was Juliet’s token of love given to her Nurse to pass on to Romeo and Mercutio was slain with a bike pump. It all worked fabulously.
A perfect combination for me of two of my favourite things, live performance and bikes! Check out the bards at www. perculius.com