Through a series of songs played live on a vintage bicycle, SPIN recounts a theatrical cycle of stories about bikes, women and liberation. Inspired by the incredible true tale of Annie Londonderry, the first woman to ride around the world on a bicycle in 1894, SPIN blends theatre, music and technology in a unique tribute to the bicycle as muse, musical instrument and agent of social change.
Written and performed by critically-acclaimed actor, singer and songwriter, Evalyn Parry (Breakfast, Clean Irene & Dirty Maxine), SPIN features Parry's unique talents as vocalist and raconteur. Parry's outspoken, personal and political performances are inspired by a powerful vision of social activism. Called "equally funny and dangerous" by CBC Radio, her irreverent wit holds nothing sacred.
Parry's "co-star", a vintage bicycle, is suspended in a mechanic's stand on stage and outfitted with contact microphones on its frame, seat and fenders. The bike is "played" by percussionist Brad Hart and manipulated by sound artist and musician Anna Friz to create a richly textured, unique sonic accompaniment to Parry's songs and monologues. SPIN is staged by award-winning director Ruth Madoc-Jones with video and production design by acclaimed designer Beth Kates. Funny, personal, political, and thought-provoking: SPIN is a springtime elegy to Toronto's favourite mode of transportation – the bicycle.
MGT REVIEWS SPIN:
Parry, No Thrust
We know that the desire to transport yourself around Toronto via the two-wheel method of the velocipede has been a matter of controversy for the last few years: CBC cashed in on a major headline when they aired their excellent documentary Pedal Power barely a week after Michael Bryant killed a cyclist with his car. Now this environmentally friendly mode of pleasurable travel has been connected to nineteenth-century feminist politics and modern day relationships as singer/songwriter Evalyn Parry brings her one-woman show Spin to Buddies In Bad Times' Cabaret, now playing until March 27. The power to pedal got women out of their house and inspired them to greater heights according to Parry's stories and songs, most of which sound the same and are performed, surprisingly, in an uncommitted and uncaptivating manner by the artist (accompanied, in equally unprepared style, by musicians Anna Friz and Brad Hart). The most enjoyable segment of the piece is when Parry tells the tale of Annie Londonderry (born Kopchovsky), the first woman to ride around the world on a bicycle in 1894. Those unfamiliar with the tale of Londonderry will rush home to google her in the hopes of finding out more, particularly as Parry begins a story about her that she never completes with any satisfaction, then follows the opening half of nineteenth century tales with a modern update to the Igor Kenk scandal and her own personal ties to the nefarious bicycle thief's activities. There are moments when she grabs us and makes us care, but most of the time the show only begins to pierce the depths of what it sets out to explore.