Ride | Backbone Ensemble

It’s a gorgeously intriguing proposition. Sneaky Pete is having a party. He’s famous for his parties. It’s very exclusive though….

You wait for a text message. It gives you an address. Be there by 8.45pm. Don’t be late. We’ll pick you up then.

I am sent to Duncan Street. At precisely 8.43, a guy in a high-vis vest comes and tells us to be ready. Suddenly, a crew of young people, friendly as a first-time uber-driver, descend on our little gang, and start scurrying us up stairs to the lower level of the Chinatown carpark.

But before we even get into a car, there’s trouble. Our driver accuses a passenger in the next car of slamming her cardoor into ours. The driver of the other car gets out. It escalates quickly, and they fight. When we try to get out to intervene, we are told to get back in the car in no uncertain terms. They fight – to the death! No shit, this is a wild ride alright. My driver unceremoniously dumps the body in the boot of the other car and tells us all to get out and run.  And that’s just the start. Yes, it is an action-packed adventure ride.

We keep jumping in and out of vehicles, each one has its own little synopsis. I traveled alone tonight, but other couples and groups are separated and ushered into different vehicles. I bet comparing notes afterwards is fascinating!

The cars keep driving up and ultimately we are thrown onto a rooftop in Fortitude Valley straight out of my Singapore clubbing days with a sparkling skyline, wire cage entry and Sneaky Pete himself, resplendent in boxers and a rather radical dressing gown, to usher us into this very exclusive party.

The intrigue of the text message location and the unexpected scenes by default means no trigger warnings. The nature of the tiny venues – the inside of a car – and the lively Saturday night timeslot – makes for an intimate confessional that has guest spilling secrets and demanding phone-jacks. The whole show has a feeling of risk, the kind of chance you take when you jump into a car with a stranger. It’s nice actually. It makes me feel alive.

I get the feeling the show was a hoot to create. There is a fashion for trying out non-traditional spaces for theatre and this is one of the best I’ve seen. The crew of young actors are lovely, although perhaps a little startled by the actual intimacy of the venues. The audience, not sure if they are participants or observing patrons, and having a good time, that’s for sure though. It’s a performance experience unlike any I have jumped in on this year, definitely.  This is no repertoire production, that’s for sure! I love that they did it , this is a top-notch re-imagining of the overused ‘immersive’ theatre experience.



Nadia Jade



Ride was performed as part of Valley Fiesta August 2018 by Backbone Youth Arts.

Photos by Morgan Roberts

Lucas Stibbard | Director / Facilitator
Damian Tatum | Director / Facilitator
Katherine Quigley | Artistic Director

Cast & Crew | Alice England, Bailey Smart, Ben Mostert, Damian Tatum, David Stewart, Eli Free, Gina Tay Limpus, Jasmin Flynn, Liv Brand, Lucas Stibbard, Nathaniel Young, Persephone Hitzke-Dean, Riley Finn Anderson, Ruby Donohoe, Sean McCarthy, Siobhan Gibbs, Stephanie Elliot,
Vivienne Abitia

One thought on “Ride | Backbone Ensemble

  1. Excellent review!

    I loved this show, a little tidbit not to be missed is that this was also the location of the backbone season launch party…so In effect, Backbone orchestrated a neat and hugely atmospheric immersive theatre experience that finished at their own party.


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