Walk past any city centre restaurant or fast food outlet and you’ll be tripping over the delivery riders queueing up to collect orders to be whisked back to customers still sat comfortably at home. It’s a convenience that has become essential to many during the pandemic, and has also inspired On Your Bike, a new musical by Ben James and Cambridge Footlight Joe Venable.
Aidan and Gemma are delivery riders, or ‘riding stakeholders’ as they are known, for ‘Eatsaroo’. As they loiter outside Felicity’s chicken shop waiting on orders and dreaming of a bench to sit on, Aidan’s old school friend, now an executive for Eatsaroo, makes an unexpected appearance.
Daisy’s arrival may derail any potential romance between Aidan and Gemma, but their friendship continues to blossom, alongside Felicity’s ongoing battle with chain shop KFK (they spell chicken with a K).
There’s a wonderful mix of musical styles in On Your Bike which helps this to feel like a bigger and more ambitious production than it actually is. It is however, perfect for the fringe, with plenty of light-hearted humour and more than enough toe tapping numbers to keep the audience entertained.
Yet amongst the catchy tunes and quirky dance numbers, On Your Bike succeeds in highlighting some serious social issues, not least the working conditions of ‘riding stakeholders’. Without having to preach, this musical makes very clear the challenges faced by the person delivering your takeaway, and the financial impacts that can have.
It’s a very strong cast of four who deliver some fantastic musical numbers, and also manage to throw in a few outstanding harmonies. The strength however is in James and Venable’s writing which is thoroughly engaging and makes good use of recurring motifs.
Cambridge University Musical Theatre Society have a strong track record at Edinburgh Fringe, and On Your Bike is no exception. The talented cast and strong writing make for a finger clicking good musical that will delight this year’s fringe goers.
On Your Bike is at The Space @ Surgeons Hall until 28th August 2021.