If it’s not been made clear from my previous posts, I love watching new musicals. Yes, I still adore the classics but there’s nothing better than watching a brand-new show which fills you with excitement. And RIDE does exactly that.

© Danny Kaan

With a book, music and lyrics written by award-winning composers and lyricists Freya Catrin Smith and Jack Williams. RIDE premiered at the VAULT Festival in 2020, where it won the VAULT’s Show of the Week award. And it’s now pedalled its way down to Charing Cross Theatre for a 3-week run.

Annie Kopchovsky was born in Latvia in 1870 and emigrated with her family to America at the tender age of 4. In her early 20s she was approached by two businessmen and took a wager of $10,000 to cycle around the globe. Due to a sponsorship from ‘Londonderry Lithia Spring Water’, Annie reinvents herself as Annie Londonderry and became the first woman to cycle around the world.

RIDE focuses on Annie (played by Liv Andrusier) upon her return to the US, where she is pitching her story to the New York World with the help of Secretary Martha (Yuki Sutton). Together they act out the story, with Annie embellishing her tale along the way.

Andrusier takes on a strong Bostonian accent, although there were a couple of points during the show in which, the accent slipped slightly, particularly during spoken lines within songs. She plays Annie charismatically and is highly animated throughout with exceptional stage presence. My eyes were fixed firmly to her throughout the first few musical numbers which she sang solo. When Sutton and Andrusier sang together their voices were beautifully harmonious.

Sutton gives an impeccable comedic performance, with excellent timing and delivery of the humorous lines of the script. She dons many characters throughout Annie’s story including John, a lecturer of Medicine at Harvard, whom Annie forms a connection with whilst on her journey, and a French customs officer (my highlight of the show).

Amy Jane Cook’s set is gorgeous and perfectly reminiscent of a late 1800’s office. With Lighting Design by Jamie Platt and Sound Design by Andrew Johnson, the set transforms into a train almost instantly, transporting the audience along with it.  

The musical numbers are catchy and varied. When there are just one or two voices, it’s difficult to make all the numbers distinct but that issue is not present here. Both Sutton and Andrusier’s voices are incredible. Andrusier is a powerhouse and is simply mesmerising. Smith and Williams have not made this show an easy one with a very vocally demanding score requiring a multi-octave range, which Andrusier delivers sensationally. One musical number which stuck out was the titular track which uses a bicycle bell within the sound.

© Danny Kaan

RIDE is only 90 minutes long and without an interval which aids the flow and pacing of the show. In the last few minutes, we touch upon Annie’s darker past and the real reasons behind her decision to go on this journey. I really wish we could have dug deeper into this, and I hope in the future RIDE will have a slightly longer run time in which all dimensions of Annie’s character can be explored.

RIDE highlights some very important issues, including the double standard of men and women. Nobody would question why John was travelling the world, but everyone questions a woman that leaves her children. It brings up the issues of life as an immigrant and antisemitism – but unfortunately there is not enough time to fully explore these. However, one thing is for sure – Annie Londonderry was a trailblazer for feminism, she proves that women can do anything men can do and you can achieve anything if you set your mind to it. It’s a shame that her story has been largely unknown until now and I’m so glad Smith and Williams have brought her story to the stage.

RIDE is a mere three years old – and I was blown away by how polished it is. With some tweaks here and there, I have no doubt this will be a resounding success, and I’m so excited to see the show develop. RIDE is a beautiful new musical with an inspiring story at its heart and sensational performances – it’s wheelie good, so don’t miss it!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

{🎟 AD – PR invite – Tickets were gifted in exchange for an honest review}

2 Star Review 3 Star Review 4 Star Review 5 Star Review 2022 2023 Adaptation Almeida Cabaret Camden Fringe Cast Announcement Christmas Comedy Dance Drag Edinburgh Fringe Edinburgh Fringe Interviews Fringe Immersive Interviews Jukebox Musical LGBTQIA+ Lyric Hammersmith Manchester Musical New Musical News New Wimbledon Theatre North West Off West End Park Theatre Play Review Revival Richmond Theatre Round Up Royal Court Theatre Shakespeare Show Announcement Show Recommendations Soho Theatre Southwark Playhouse Touring Production VAULT Festival West End

    The infamous Sh!t Faced Showtime are back in London with a festive edition, they have taken Dickens’ classic and put a drunken spin on it. The formula is the same as other iterations of the Shi!t Faced shows, one member of the cast has been boozing, and this time it is John Milton who plays Scrooge. Before the show, half a bottle of Jim Beam, some wine, and beer have been consumed in the previous 4 hours. The rest of the cast, try to keep the show on track, also aided by James Murfitt as the compere, Charles Dickens. The … More A PISSEDMAS CAROL – REVIEW – LEICESTER SQUARE
    Spine-tingling yet heart-warming, Mark Gatiss’s retelling of A Christmas Carol truly encapsulates the haunting atmosphere of a Victorian ghost story, balanced out with enough humour so as to capture the festive season. Led by Keith Allen as Scrooge, with Peter Forbes as Marley, this show is perfect for Christmas viewing. The set design by Paul Wills is instantly captivating, containing stacks of metal cabinets towering over the theatre, moveable by the cast to allow space for other central props like doors, beds and tables. In addition to this, the puppetry design by Matthew Forbes is incredibly clever, adding creepy elements to the show such … More A CHRISTMAS CAROL – REVIEW – ALEXANDRA PALACE
    The title of this winner of Theatre 503’s 2023 International Playwriting Award by Roxy Cook may seem like the set-up to a joke, but the narrative that unspools is instead an affectionate, gently barbed and at base quite sobering portrait of three ordinary souls (and one restless feline) adrift in modern Moscow. There is much affable, satirical back-and-forth commentary on the accepted myths & stereotypes of the Russian spirit & soul. Beset by the indignities of age, opportunism, graft, fatigue, the characters orbit one another, doomed to play out their roles in an unjust, predatory and saturnine universe. The play opens … More A WOMAN WALKS INTO A BANK – REVIEW – THEATRE503
    Peter Pan Goes Wrong first premiered in London at the Pleasance Theatre in 2013, and earlier this year the show made its Broadway debut. Now the production is back in the West End for the Christmas season. Following on from The Play That Goes Wrong, in this production, J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan is staged by the fictitious Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society and goes awry, disastrously so. The meta-comedy is filled with slapstick comedy, sometimes the humour may be predictable and silly, but it’s universally funny throughout – there is something for everyone here, and the laughs come thick and fast … More PETER PAN GOES WRONG – REVIEW – LYRIC THEATRE
    Drawing heavily from the classic canon of the British supernatural, HighTide’s trio of contemporary Gothic narratives uses traditional storytelling formats to address contemporary themes. Directed by Elayce Ismail, reverent musical interludes accompany tales of apparitions and nighttime conjurings that speak of women from the East of England. Unfortunately, the effect is less chilling and more lightweight, with conventional structures, predictable plot twists and an over-reliance on external forces to drive narrative shoring up some of the less relatable aspects of the genre. Nicola Werenowska’s The Beach House, perhaps the cleanest of the three tales, tells of a mother and daughter’s … More GHOST STORIES BY CANDLELIGHT – REVIEW – SAM WANAMAKER PLAYHOUSE


Leave a Reply