Russell McGiltons ‘Bombay to Beijing by Bicycle’ treads very familiar territory for anyone who has suffered medical misadventure in a third world country.
Certainly my experiences of simultaneous heat stroke and gastroenteritis on a 5 hour boat journey through Cambodia was my own Heart of Darkness moment that came flooding back, and serves as a permanent lesson as to why one should not eat cheese in a country with little refrigeration.
But this one man character & physical comedy extravaganza maybe suffers a little on the basis that it is a one fundamental joke routine – a twilight zone of flashbacks under the feverish spell of malaria. Maybe I was hoping he would get significantly farther than India in the routine – that certainly may be the case in the book accompanying the comedy routine (does that make it multimedia…?).
I’m not 100% sure whether I am comfortable with his stereotypical depictions of the folk he encounters – the cricket mad peasantry, the locals with vested family interests in local businesses, the doctors bordering on quackery and sex-mad Israeli tourists. Look, these things do exist when travelling in far flung places, as I well know first hand (albeit nymphomaniac Jewish princess are notably absent from my travels) – but does that make them a legitimate target of comedic ridicule from the vantage of Western economic advantage, or am I being too politically correct?
He is an excellent performer – and this hour long monologue is well conceived, written and performed. Best you go and make you own mind up.