“A hug of understanding and relatability in the best of ways.”
We meet Felix (Chris Kendall) as he prepares to take to the stage for his stand-up set. “My name is Felix Clark, I’m six foot two, and I’m bisexual”; an introduction to the only character relevant in this short. Bicycle situates itself as a one-man character study about a one-man stand-up show.
Director Sammy Paul and actor Chris Kendall are frequent collaborators. Having worked together previously, they hit their stride from the first moments of Bicycle. Dealing with the topic of bisexuality, Sammy Paul does a wonderful job of not cutting corners in his script. There is an immediate intimacy to Felix as a character; his monologues offering mullings on his personal relationship with his own sexuality. Commenting on the nuances of bisexuality, Felix voices concern over the typical bi stereotypes and the idea of ‘the ratio’ (how many women vs men he’s been with).
The film hugely rests on Kendall to deliver this part with confidence as he is the only face seen throughout the short film. Both boldly and candidly, Kendall summons a comedic tone with ease. Drawing you in with an expressed vulnerability, Kendall harnesses a spoken realism through Felix. With help from this self-reflexive script, Bicycle balances a self-deprecating humour with commentary on actualised challenges faced by the bisexual community.
Felix speaks about his fears of identifying as bi, worried that the label may become his sole branding, only known for being the bisexual comedian.
“Maybe we’ve just gotten so used to dudes in their forties doing it that anything else feels like an exception.”
Just when you think Felix is getting tangled in his own thoughts, Paul easily injects humour and steers the comedian’s performance back on track.
Breaking the fourth wall multiple times, something that can so often ruin the pacing of a film, is managed with care and consideration in Bicycle. Felix speaks into the mirror, and in doing so he speaks to the viewer, opening up about the complicated relationship he had with his sexuality. Felix’s stand-up show echoes this journey yet he’s able to play with humour and his experience but back in the dressing room he speaks with a private honesty.
Set design is an area where Bicycle really excels. Perfectly catered to the topics Bicycle encounters, the lighting throughout the film resembles the bisexual flag. Moving from the pink on-stage lights that make Felix’s blue jacket appear purple to the blue space of the dressing room, these subtle design choices only adds to this thoughtfulness that exudes from this short film.
As a considerately contemplative film on one man’s musings of bisexuality, Bicycle provides plenty of humorous moments without sacrificing its sincere integrity. Sammy Paul’s latest short is a hug of understanding and relatability in the best of ways.
Dir: Sammy Paul
Prod: Ash Horne and Sammy Paul, A Penny4 Production
Cast: Chris Kendall