Album review: Ride the Musical

Ride the Musical has had quite a journey since its first appearance on stage at the Vault Festival in 2020, where it already stood out as one of the best shows of that season.

It is a bright new British musical about Annie Londenderry (1870-1947), a Jewish-Latvian immigrant to the USA who became the first woman to cycle around the world.

Moving to the West End for a short run last year, Freya Catrin Smith and Jack Williams’s show now has a beautifully-produced cast recording from that production which is released today.

With Liv Andrusier and Yuki Sutton as the main roles of Londenderry and her secretary Martha, this remains a hugely enjoyable piece full of complex songs and harmonic melodies.

Promotional image for Ride the Musical

Annie’s story is one of showwomanship and misdirection to get what she wants, while remaining set on her goal. “Annie Londonderry” is a creation who flies the flag for women athletes and what they could do in the 19th century.

Andrusier’s performance is all high energy and complete dedication to the task at hand, while Sutton adds friendly support and home truths through her committed take on another woman in a man’s world.

The songs push the story forward while presenting a considerable emotional heft. This is a score that will leave you remembering bits for ages (the bicycle bells in the title song as just one example).

The duets between Annie and Martha are excellent, while some of the other pieces fill in the narrative so you don’t necessarily need to be familiar with the show or the real-life account to appreciate and enjoy what’s here.

There are some musicals that really get under the skin and well deserve a second life in a bigger house, and Ride is definitely one of these. I’m really pleased it is coming back into the West End soon.

It also proves that fringe festivals and small theatre showcases are and should be a key place where emerging artists and productions get a chance to take their first steps.

Ride releases its London cast recording on 9 Jun: choose your listening platform here.


Ride returns to Southwark Playhouse Elephant from 19 Jul-12 Aug: tickets here.