Bringing some outstanding fresh theatre to light, Ride is a brand new musical by Freya Catrin Smith and Jack Williams, telling the unfathomable story of Annie Londonderry as she attempts the wild journey of being the first woman to cycle around the globe in 1895. Pitching to write about her travels in a newspaper column, she will do everything she can in the hope that someone will listen.
Liv Andruiser plays the lead role, and demonstrates herself to be exceptional at her craft. Becoming Annie, with her instantly charming, yet fiercely daring nature, she carries the character impeccably throughout. With depth, particularly as the show builds, Annie's true identity begins to emerge and the truth determines how her successes are linked to reality. Despite the hardship she faces though, she is determined to reach that finish line, and show liberation along the way.
Yuki Sutton plays her unexpected sidekick on her descriptive venture and proves to be a great fit for the role. With her growing confidence and their budding companionship, she is seen acting- often rather comedically- as various people that Annie met along her way: from Celine the customs officer, to Fred, a potential lover she longed for. Both Liv and Yuki are brimming with potential talent, just waiting to fill a bigger stage.
The space is transformed into a lavish office, lined with books and a large map on the wall. From the outset, it's unknown what magic the place holds in sharing the narrative that Annie creates to depict how she should be perceived. While the hat stand provides ammunition for their shifts in character within the piece they were performing, the attention to detail by Amy Jane Cook with the designing is stunning, particularly in conjunction with the movement around the stage, choreographed by Natasha Harrison. Hidden in drawers and pulled from walls, numerous props assist in the creativity of the storytelling that keeps you engaged, despite the premise of the musical remaining in the same place. As the piece progresses, there are unforeseen surprises which will remain unspoilt here, so you can enjoy them for yourself, but the 90 minutes is certainly filled with enough to have the audience captured, additionally by the excellent score.
Opening with 'The World's Greatest Story', this is followed by the titular track, and highlight from the show, 'Ride', where Liv's gift truly comes to fruition, as she belts out those notes to a captivated audience. The pair take on several duets later on in the show too. Each song feels comfortable in its place, and there isn't any that appear lacking: lyrically, the numbers are perfect for the piece, and ideal for a cast album.
With direction by Sarah Meadows, Ride is a new musical to cherish: an unlikely story told in a way that has means for going far. Make sure to get yourself there (by bike, or otherwise).