Edition 8 March 2019, by Benjamin B. Roberts
In early January, the conservative British speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, was called out by fellow party member, Adam Holloway for being impartial in the Brexit deal because his car had an anti-Brexit sticker placed in the windscreen. Bercow corrected Holloway and reported the car was not his, but his wife’s. Bercow questioned Holloway and the rest of the House of Commons, “which honorable gentleman member of this chamber can honestly say that their wife is property or chattel of her husband?”. The rebutal left the House of Commons in a roar of laughter and made the evening news across Europe.
Since the Brexit referendum in June 2016, a rift has divided Britain into two opposing camps. The first was between the elderly that primarily voted “LEAVE” and younger generation that were fervent REMAIN supporters. Now, almost three years later, that gap has widened even further, separating not only young and old, rural and urban, but also families, and even couples: the cornerstone of British society. That was reason enough for the English playwright, John Godber to write “The Scary Bikers”, a story about the widowed schoolteacher Carol, played by Westend actress Loveday Smith, whose husband died from a brain tumor. Carol eventually finds love in her life again, with Don, played by Mark Winstanley. From a class perspective, Carol’s new flame is not from the same social standing as her deceased, architect husband. Don is an ex-miner, and definitely not posh. For the outside world, Carol and Don seem like an odd match, but they share two things in common. They both lost their spouse, and both like biking. And then, their relationship takes a different twist after venturing on a cycling trip across Europe. It’s not the little irritations of being 24/7 together that causes stress. No, it’s their difference in opinion about Brexit. Don voted LEAVE, while Carol REMAIN. John Godber, who is the son of miner, has written more than 60 plays since the beginning of his career, and is one of the UK’s most performed playwrights. With “The Scary Bikers”, Godber portrays what is happening in every livingroom across the UK. Carol and Don’s budding relationship turns sour when they cannot set aside their heart-felt personal convictions about Brexit for the good of the relationship. Godber keeps audiences on the edge of their seat wondering if Carol and Don will stay together or let Brexit tear them apart, which is metaphorically, the question all of us will be asking after March 27th.
The Scary Bikers is opening on March 29th with performances in April. The production is staged by QE2 (an offshoot of Queen’s English Theater Company [QETC]), with performances at various locations in throughout the Netherlands before it transfers to London’s West End. In 2002, Mark Winstanley founded QETC, which produces high quality English-language productions in the Netherlands. Last year, the theater troupe successfully staged Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest” at sold-out venues, including Amsterdam’s recently opened theater, CC Amstel Theater, which regularly stages English-language productions.