My Bicycle Loves You | Legs on the Wall
Photos - Prudence Upton
Enchanting, mesmerising and thoroughly entertaining are a few of the words that would describe My Bicycle Loves You, the vaudeville production presented by Legs on the Wall theatre.
The genesis of this production was the Corrick Collection – a collection of more than 135 films produced in the early 20th Century and exhibited by travelling entertainers the Corrick family in the early 1900s. Albert and Sarah Corrick were from Christchurch, New Zealand and included their eight children in their act.
Director Patrick Nolan and his creative team did an amazing job of taking scenes from the various films and stitching them into the life of his real life characters on stage. Ghostly characters from the films were entwined with the seven abstract characters that share an apartment block.
The stage was alive with activity as films were projected, onto screens, sets, props and even the actors themselves. At the same time the team of actors and acrobats threw themselves around the stage, amazing the audience with their skill. There was a richness and depth to the visual spectacle with the performance making use of every part of the stage. The most challenging part of the performance was knowing where to look, so as not to miss the action.
My Bicycle Loves You is not so much a story as a series of chapters or episodes in the lives of its kooky and surreal characters. Though I have heard criticism in this regard, I would suggest that rather than try to extract too much meaning from the tale, audiences should simply sit back and let the enjoyment of the piece take over.
All the activity on stage was accompanied by four musicians playing piano hall music which was simply delightful and so integral to the show. The musicians sat at the same level as the audience, rather than in the pit and were surrounded by softly lit lampshades which gave it a feeling of intimacy and reflected the furnishings on set.
The technical side of the production was paramount to this show and you can imagine what a challenging task it must have been for the production crew. Perfect timing between actors, musicians and the crew was essential and as far as I could tell, no one missed a beat.
The imagination and creativity was inspiring and there were many highlights. I loved Tom Flanagan’s ladder tricks that would cause audience members to clasp their hands over their mouth in fear as he teetered one or two stories high, as well as his portrayal of a crazy bull let wild on his fellow neighbours.
I loved the various perspectives that were shown in this production. At any one time you were viewing the happenings from a video camera, on a screen or live in front of you. Actions that were taking place on the floor between characters and then projected on a vertical scene creating some amazing scenes where the actors seemed to defy gravity. Very clever indeed.
I also loved the interlude where actors simply lay on the stage and watched one of the films. Then Louisa, the character who has “fallen out of time” was hoisted into the air and “thrown” into the projection screen creating a burst of noise and light as the movies changed before our eyes.
What was interesting about the audience reaction is that, whatever they viewed on film never had as much impact as what took place live before their eyes. Seeing a character fall off a bike or pull a tablecloth from under its plates and cutlery gained a much greater reaction when it was performed by one of the live actors, rather than their ghostly counterparts in the films.
It is good to know that through the support of government and sponsors, theatre lovers can still enjoy expensive productions such as these.
Commissioned by Perth International Arts Festival with Sydney Festival
My Bicycle Loves You
Legs on the Wall
Directed by Patrick Nolan
Venue: Regal Theatre, Perth
Dates: Tue 22 - Sat 26 Feb 2011
Duration: 1hr 20min no interval
Tickets: $52.50 - $32.50
Bookings: Ticketek 1300 795 012