Gino Bartali the Unsung Hero

“Hundreds will live because of you.”

The Cardinal

Charing Cross Theatre now hosts Glory Ride the musical which I so loved at its concert showing at The Other Palace.  The choreographer for Come From Away, Kelly Devine takes over direction and choreography.  

There have been considerable changes to the Book leaving out Gino Bartali (Josh St Clair)’s life before he became a famous cyclist.  I felt it was important to know how poor his family of carters were and you would never guess that in this production by his father’s dapper linen jacket and debonnaire cravat.  And how the accountant Giorgio “Nico” Nissim (Daniel Robinson) got him his first bike, a child’s pink bike from a rich family and how he was at first employed by the Italian racing team as a mechanic not a rider.  

Jamie Coynr as Cosmo, Josh St Clair as Gino Bartali and Loris Scarpa as Lorenzo. (Photo: Marc Brenner)

The resulting production is now less about the three heroes, Gino Bartali, Nico and the Cardinal of Florence, Elia Dalla Costa (Niall Sheehy) as the stage is often filled by others.  There is no lack of enthusiasm in the crowd scenes with vigorous singing from all but I found it overly loud and longed for quiet moments to reflect on this important and heart warming story.  The musical is in need of a calming hand which of course it can achieve with time.  

As well as Major Mario Carita (Fed Zanni) who is Gino Bartali’s rival for the love of Adriana Bani (Amy Di Bartolomeo) there is another Black Shirt villain Commander Graziani (Ryan Bennett) who is so over the top, he is more pantomime villain than sinister Nazi. 

Josh St Clair as Gini Bartali. (Photo: Marc Brenner)

The set by PJ McEvoy has the Florentine skyline and old walls covered in period posters of Bartali’s cycling ascent of the mountains.  

The music now has a full five piece orchestra which is a strength and there is a strong duet from Gino and Adriana as well as Felix (Ruairidh McDonald)’s tragic song about the loss of his violin which incidentally makes the smashing of his fingers and his inability to play seem less important.  

I wish Glory Ride the best as its story is brilliant and I can only hope with more work it can get the production it deserves. 

Despite my misgivings, I had tears coursing down my face in the final scene when Torello (Steve Watts) and Rosetta (Susanna Paisio) realise that their son is not a Fascist but a hero and the saviour of 800 souls.  The finale is the finest, sheer emotion as people recall their saved relatives. 

Musical Numbers

Act One

It Only Takes One Hero

Take the Wheel

Point of No Return

Tomorrow in Italy

Songlette in Teal

Look Ahead


I Never Learned to Say Goodbye

Eight Hundred Souls

Are You With Me?

Quale Strada

Act Two

Look Ahead  (Reprise)

Green Eyeshades

A Minor Thing, a War

Road to the Damascus

Fathers and Sons

They Call Me Silent

Nothing Feels Beautiful


Road to Damascus (Reprise)

Ad Astra


New Road to Glory

Production Notes

Glory Ride 

Book by Victoria and Todd Buchholz

Music and Lyrics by Victoria Buchholz

Directed and Choreographed by Kelly Devine



Josh St. Clair

Amy Di Bartolomeo

Niall Sheehy

Fed Zanni

Daniel Robinson

Ruairidh McDonald

Ryan Bennett

Peter Watts

James Coyne, 

Loris Scarpa

Susianna Paisio

Steve Watts

Alice Spigariol


Director and Choreographer: Kelly Devine

Set, Video and Costume

Designer: PJ McEvoy

Musical Director: Dave Rose

Lighting Designer:  

Rob Halliday

Sound Designer: Andrew Johnson

Orchestrations: Jen Green


Running Time: Two hours 20 minutes with an interval

Booking until 29th July 2023 



Charing Cross Theatre

The Arches

Villiers Street

London WC2N 6NL

Box Office: 08444 930 650

Tube: Embankment

Reviewed by Lizzie Loveridge

at the Charing Cross Theatre

on 28th April 2023