DEM Productions, Charing Cross Theatre (venue)
02 September 2022 (released)
03 September 2022
It is rare to discover such beautifully conceived and executed small scale musical that is crammed with theatrical detail and having two stellar female characters and performances.
Ride is the story of Annie Londonderry the first woman to cycle around the world. There are obvious parallels with Around the World in Eighty days, as the journey comes about due to a supposed wager between two businessmen.
But there is more than reputation riding on this for Annie, who is really Annie Kopchovsky a Latvian Immigrant living in an impoverished Boston tenement. For her it is escape, excitement and independence. A trailblazing attempt that few know about.
Annie is a complex person who exudes confidence and chutzpah when presenting her dramatic journey full of daring do and continual set-backs, but she has another side full of remorse and guilt. Her story is a gift for storytelling as a musical and Freya Catrin Smith and Jack Williams have brought this to fruition with care and a lot of heart. From the title song 'Ride' you are swept up by their catchy songs and witty lyrics.
As Annie, Liv Andrusier gives a performance of sheer perfection. He vocal range is amazing but it is also her total immersion in the character that is captivating. It is difficult to believe that she only graduated in 2021, she has the qualities of Joanna Riding and is destined for great things.
Yuki Sutton is Martha Hyatt the uncertain and nervous aide to Annie's story, who only comes to deliver glasses and water and is coerced into helping tell her story. She has the difficult task of playing a plethora of the characters that Annie meets on her journey. Sutton does this exceedingly well and when they combine singing voices the musical soars. Sutton's portrayal of Celeste the French border official being a particular highlight.
Most of the ninety minute show takes place in a claustrophobic office where Annie Londonderry is forced to pitch her story in the hope of gaining recognition and journalistic career. Amy Jane Cook's clever and beautifully observed set, and lighting by Jamie Platt, create the perfect playground for the action and songs. It then opens up to revel a panoramic sky for the middle section of the bike journey.
Sarah Meadows as director, brings the story to life with such wit and heart and in those moments when we glimpse the real Annie she holds back on the effects and it is truly moving.
Inevitably in trying to cover so much in a one act show there will be moments that feel slightly overstretched and other that feel a little rushed. But these are minor faults in what is a wonderful production. Let's hope this Ride goes on.