REVIEW: RIDE @ CHARING CROSS THEATRE
📍 Charing Cross Theatre, The Arches, Villiers Street, London, WC2N 6NL
🗓 Wednesday 14th September 2022
A ROAD TO NOWHERE
In the arches underneath Charing Cross Station, a small theatre is showcasing a brand new musical.
Ride tells the relatively unknown story of Annie Kopchovsky who reinvents herself as Annie Londonderry and becomes the first woman to circumnavigate the globe on a bicycle.
Described as a musical, it felt more to me like it was a play with some songs in it. I know that's essentially what a musical is, but this production had a different feel to it from other musicals. It's almost as if the show lacks an identity.
The premise of the show is that Annie (Liv Andrusier - Little Women, Les Misérables) has returned from her epic adventure and is pitching her story to a room of newspaper tycoons. The audience are cleverly used as these characters meaning she directly addresses the crowd as she's telling the story.
Unsuspecting Martha (Yuki Sutton - The Poison Belt, Tokyo Rose) enters the room to bring drinks and gets swept up in the storytelling, becoming different people that Annie met on her travels.
I have to say that the acting by both was impeccable and I have special praise for Sutton who brilliantly transitioned between different characters in the story.
For me though, I could just not connect with the story at all. It's a single act show of roughly 90 minutes, but I felt that it was about 20 minutes too long! I actually noticed that my mind was wondering quite a lot and I really had to focus to stop it happening. The story telling wasn't strong enough to keep me engaged.
It's a real shame because creatively the show was very good. The set and costume design by Amy Jane Cook were great. The set was essentially one room, but became very multi functional and the space was cleverly used.
The musical numbers started off strong and I particularly enjoyed the title song Ride, but soon all the songs sounded very similar to one another and I became bored of them.
I went in with such high expectations for this show but sadly, for me, it just didn't hit the mark. Maybe I had built it up too much in my mind after hearing so many positive things about it. I wanted to be wowed but ultimately I left the theatre feeling underwhelmed.
I guess we all have different tastes and likes and Ride is not a show that I can see myself revisiting in its current form.
It would seem that I was definitely in the minority though as the audience on the whole seemed to love the performance and I heard lots of positive murmurings when I was exiting the theatre.
The performances by the two cast members are what has kept my star rating from going lower than a 3 as they were both sensational.
It has taken me a while to write this review as I was really unsure about how to start and what to write as I was kind of confused by my own feelings! That sounds a very strange thing to say but I think it's because I really wanted to love it, and there were some very good elements, but ultimately this show just wasn't for me.
Ride has its final two performances at Charing Cross Theatre tomorrow so there's not long left if you want to see this show.
All views are my own and I pride myself on being honest and free from influence.