Review - Ride A New Musical - Southwark Playhouse Elephant

Ride A New Musical - Southwark Playhouse Elephant

Annie Londonderry is not a name I knew before my visit to the Southwark Playhouse Elephant, but it’s one I now will never forget!

This new musical from Freya Catrin Smith and Jack Williams introduces us to Annie Londonderry (Liv Andrusier) as she’s pitching to the New Yorker to be their newest columnist – she decides to regale them with the story of her record breaking journey across the world on a bike and being the first woman to do so to win them over.

Annie ropes in hapless secretary Martha (Katy Ellis) to play the other characters in her story, this gives Katy a wonderful opportunity to show off her character acting skills, with perfect comedy timing and physicality.

Performed by just the two actresses, this is a huge show for them both and they make it look like a breeze. With high energy whirlwind scenes in amongst heart-wrenching ballads, this is a rollercoaster of a show.

Liv Andrusier is clearly a star, having won the 2023 Offie Award for Leading Performance in a Musical for her portrayal of Annie in this shows previous run at the Charing Cross Theatre, it is easy to see that she was born to be on the stage. With an incredible voice and wonderful acting talents, she makes Annie a rather unlikeable character by all accounts, into someone relatable and someone we root for by the end.

The clever set design by Amy Jane Cook perfectly draws us in to each environment, with hidden surprises all around it makes good use of the surprisingly large stage available.

One let down of the evening was the sound quality, at times the music overpowered the vocals which meant some lyrics were lost and having heard the cast recording this was a big shame as they are wonderfully written. The songs are strong and powerful and ones that undoubtedly end up in your head long after leaving the theatre. From big, bouncy, showy numbers to small delicate ones, there is a wide variety on show here. ‘Ride’ being a particular stand out.

This is a wonderful story of a woman who was dealt a bad hand in life and wants to pursue her dreams of success. Annie is brash, unkind at times and really rather unlikeable but yet I think she’s someone we can all relate to in some way, she is just a young woman doing her best to succeed and gain a better life for herself and is willing to do what it takes to achieve that.

This show was reviewed on the 24th July 2023.  Ride The Musical runs at Southwark Playhouse Elephant until the 12th August 2023.  Tickets available here: Ride - Southwark Playhouse

**** stars

Rosie Browne

Join Rosie every Monday at midday for the 'Musical Lunchbox' here on Box Office Radio


Photo credit: Danny Kaan