SpiritWheel

it was all a dream productions · Ages 18+ · world premiere · United States of America

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Review by TERRY ANNE HOLZMAN
June 24, 2016

What I liked

Loved it! Spirit Wheel is fresh and funny. I’ve been to many spinning classes throughout my life but have not experienced the infamous, cultish atmosphere of Soul Cycle (the inspiration behind “Spirit Wheel”) so I was enthralled from the get-go. The slavish devotion to instructors, the philosophy and the lifestyle of Spirit Wheel (Soul Cycle) is as sad as it is funny.

The main character, a new receptionist who has a masters degree and is charged with checking in the Spirit Wheel acolytes (as well as folding towels the correct way), is not sold on the Spirit Wheel dogma at first (she gets that it’s sort of a cult, but she needs the job). THEN, she takes a class from the top insturctor (who wears a hat that reads “Nama-stay”) and is given the vaunted position on the “big girl bike” at the front of the class, She has a near-religious experience so gets into the Spirit Wheel groove. She develops a girl crush on the beautiful, star instructor and her various mantras, until she sees who and what Spirit Wheel really is.

Things I loved: The acting is all superb. I loved the scene where the small cast acts out the (literally) rotating group of spin acolytes come in.
I loved the clever way the director deals with late comers to the show. Works perfectly because as they briefly become part of the show and do not disturb the action.
I loved how the creators of Spirit Wheel are never seen but are voices from “on high” either praising or chastising as if they were Goddesses on Mt. Olympus (and I’m sure some Soul Cyclists really do believe the founders are deities).
I loved the theme of the play—not to blindly follow anything or anybody…find your own way up the mountain, even if it’s on a stationary bike.

What I didn't like

Loved it all.

My overall impression

Fresh and funny. I really think this show should continue beyond the Fringe and could even be a cable series. The characters are complex, funny and real. I wanted to learn more about them all.

The idea of the physical-body cult phenomena (whether spinning, yoga (hello Bikram!!) or some new diet craze) is so very current and Spirit Wheel gets it right….How something that can be empowering and life changing IF used right, but also very sad and addictive when it becomes your whole world. Spirit Wheel manages to explore both sides equally. Well done!
Recommend!

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