Glory Ride

Gino Bartali is not a name I’d ever heard before, but one which if you’re Italian you may know very well. Gino was the 1938 & 1948 Tour De France winner. He held a secret for most of his life and in this musical, we learn just how big the secret is and how important this man was in history. Set in Florence this piece takes us through a period of the second world war, the fascist are starting to take over Italy, Mussolini is in charge and sending out some dark orders. 

This is not yet a full show, it’s presented currently in concert/workshop form which means the actors are all carrying their scripts with them, though this doesn’t detract from the piece. 

For a new piece there are some great moments contained within; Ricardo Afonso as Cardinal Dalla Costa sings a beautiful heart wrenching song when he’s tasked with saving 800 children from a dark fate which is truly a standout moment in the show. 

Although the subject matter is dark there are some wonderful light moments of humour, Matt Blaker especially as Giorgio Nico brings the laughs as a bumbling accountant who end up caught in the plans Gino has concocted. 

Taking on the lead role of Gino is James Darch, who’s talent cannot be denied. With a strong voice and brilliant acting skills he truly brings Gino to life. James has a wonderful warm presence and although the character makes mistakes, because of the wonderful acting from James you’re willing to forgive Gino and will him onwards to success. 

Neil McDermott is powerful as a fascist Major, who seems to have gotten himself involved in something he maybe doesn't want to be. Neil has an incredible voice and takes your breath away in his solo songs.

It must be said there were some sound issues on the night of this review, which sadly meant some of the script was lost and possibly some of the lyrics didn’t pack quite the punch they needed to due to this.

As an ensemble the cast works well together, supported by a 4 piece band on stage, a wonderful sound is created when all singing together. Each member of the ensemble takes on several roles each one very different to the last giving the players a chance to really flex their acting muscles.

The Other Palace has promised to bring us new theatre so it’s wonderful to see them keeping to this. This is a show clearly in its early stages, at points the dialogue feels rushed and without purpose, I believe with some tweaks and small re-writes from Father-Daughter team Todd and Victoria Buchholz, it could be a brilliantly moving piece. 

I would like to see this as a full production in the future and hope it had a life beyond this workshop because people should hear the story of Gino Bartali and why his 53 journeys around Italy were so important.

Glory Ride is on at The Other Palace until the 16th November 2022 - Tickets here: Glory Ride - A New Musical - The Other Palace Theatre

Written by Rosie Browne

Photo credit: Piers Foley (Rehearsal pictures)

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