The Ride-Along at 2014 Orlando Fringe
Taking the Fringe's "bring your own venue" concept to an exciting new extreme, The Ride-Along invites two (or three) audience members into the back seat of a beater car for an interactive spy spoof with the whole Ivanhoe neighborhood as its stage. Viewer's volunteer to become new recruits in a super-secret law enforcement outfit that operates out of the local Wendy's, observing as Agents Lopez (writer/director Jose Perez IV on my ride-along) and Agent D (Clare Ghezzi during my training) engage in fisticuffs with nefarious thugs in negliges (Virgil Rodriguez, Manuel Graves) and commit the occasional drive-by complimenting.
The production's parodic tone -- complete with an exposition-dishing Sergeant (Hastings Henderson), absurd McGuffin plot, and oddball musical interludes -- owes a nod to the Police Squad/The Naked Gun series, with all the performers doing a good job staying in character and staying on script (especially our driver Ghezzi, who did a remarkable job reciting dialog while driving public streets). The fight scenes, all expertly choreographed by Perez and slickly synchronized to sound effects over the in-car speaker, were satisfyingly brutal in chop-sockey style.
Ride-Along's story, involving the theft of secret files and an agent's unusual phobia, isn't especially compelling, but as a long-time proponent of site-specific theater I was thrilled by the experience. I'd love to see Ride-Along evolve and return with a more complex, serious script, but until then this is a ride well worth taking. The only problem is that the rest of the run is sold out, so show up in front of the Shakes before a show and ask if the ticket-holders will allow you to sit it the middle seat. It's a tight squeeze but you won't regret it...unless you're susceptible to car sickness; in that case, skip it for your fellow passenger
Fight Theatre - Orlando, FL
Length: 55 Venue: Byov Price: $10 (+svc. Charge)
Disc.: FA | FV | STU | SR | MIL | Police & Fire department members
Rating: 13+ -