Two strangers in Melbourne wake up naked in bed next to each other. Neither can remember most of what happened the night before. In the morning-after conversation that ensues, they try to piece together the previous night. In this process, they explore the more philosophical concepts of remembrance, as well as concrete memories of childhood and ex-partners. It is a play of a woman who overstays her welcome, and while she is forever searching for her second shoe, both good and bad comes out of it. This production leaves the same sort of aftertaste a one-night-stand does: Was that it? What was that for? Did it mean anything?
“Ride” is the debut of newly formed Red Scarf Theatre, and a concept that lends itself to a lot of interesting options. It is written, performed and directed by a creative team of Australians, and thus has a slightly different tone than a lot of London writing. Nevertheless, you would think as a big city audience member there would be more points of identifying in a play about a one-night-stand, but unfortunately there aren’t really. The characters are largely too unlikeable and their motivations too muddled to sympathise with them. Both go through different stages of flirting, aggression, sadness and lust that are not always in line with their previous actions. This sort of hot-blooded behaviour that cannot be pressed into a clear pattern, makes “Ride” probably more realistic but also appear less thought-through.
Writer Jane Bodie however does well at hinting at emotional conditions without being too obvious and keeps the audience guessing what the characters’ intentions are. Actors Corinne Furlong and Paul-William Mawhinney make a good pair on stage and successfully portray the confused and suppressed sexual tension between the two strangers. Unfortunately, the main question that remains throughout the piece is not whether the two will fall in love, one of them is insane, or how they met the night before but simply: why did she not just leave?
Reviewed by Lisa Theresa Downey-Dent