Riding with Anna Lumb in Joyride

by | Oct 3, 2023

Melbourne Fringe is just around the corner and synonymously it brings with it some super effective fringe artists who bring their own creative and exciting visions to the festival. One of those shows is Joyride, a new hybrid physical theatre and live artwork staged in a car!

Joyride is created by and stars critically acclaimed Variety Artist, Anna Lumb and Drag Icon DANDROGYNY.

Lumb cites not only the temporary intimacy that happens in the car, but the conversations you have on a long drive, as well as the humanness as inspirations for the piece.

“In the car we eat, fight, laugh, yell, sing, rage, talk to ourselves, pick our noses. We’re lulled into a false sense of privacy in our cars, but people can still see in the windows. It felt like a fun premise for a show.”

As with so much of our work post COVID, the idea for the show was conceived in lockdown. Lumb believes that for many people  during that time, the car became a sort of a refuge outside the confines of the house, portable PPE. “I made a piece about driving my kids to school for my solo show Hard to Reach Places which resonated with audiences and became the impetus for a longer form work. It took a couple of years to secure funding and now we’re performing the first iteration of Joyride in the Melbourne Fringe.:

The bastard child of Thelma and Louise and Wild at Heart, the show is an electric reimagining of the quintessential road movie as a voyeuristic live experience. It combines physical theatre and text into a surreal, multi artform road trip.

“We’re having fun satirising car movies and culture, but ultimately the show is about two people on a short (but emotionally fraught) journey together with some surreal and utterly absurd pitstops along the way,” says Lumb. “The inside of the car is just as transitional as the landscape outside, a space where difficult conversations can occur or confessions can be made by its alternating passengers.”

The set consists of the 1985 Beamer that Lumb rescued from the side of the road in Northcote. It was about to be towed to the tip after enduring a hit and run from a neighbour in a budget truck.

“The bumper was hanging by a thread and someone had tried to hotwire it in the middle of the night,” explains Lumb. “I imagined all the trips it had taken, stories embedded in the worn leather seats, it felt worthy of restoration. However, parts for this kind of car are rare so it’s proved a little costly. The price of art, hey?!”

As with any great road trip, audiences can also expect an excellent car radio soundtrack to accompany the show.

“The dialogue and subject matter in the show have definitely informed the song choices but using the mechanism of the car radio allows us the freedom to change tracks and traverse genres,” says Lumb who  loves how songs on the car radio can elicit these hilarious or intense emotional responses – crying, laughing, euphoria, frustration, loneliness and nostalgia.

Lumb, internationally acclaimed for her incendiary circus and wild theatrics, is a Melbourne based performer, circus artist, theatre maker, actor and DJ. Her background is in physical theatre, circus and dance but, by her own admission, is increasingly using text and dialogue in her work.

“It seems to be taking a front seat (excuse the pun) in my recent theatre shows and I enjoy the challenge of integrating text and storytelling with my physical practise.

I’ve worked very closely over the years with sisters Anni and Maude Davey who are, in the opinion of many, the bedrock of the Melbourne Circus and Theatre scene. They’ve really encouraged me to take risks and push my practice. Maude acted as an outside eye on an early development of Joyride.”

Speaking about The Fringe, Lumb says it is a great platform for new work and a space where she feels comfortable to take risks and experiment. “I really enjoy that breadth of work that is programmed in this festival and the diversity of artists that participate.”

Spotlighting the glorification of “the car” in Western society, Joyride takes this symbol upon which we project our desires, values, and identities and presses private parts up against the windshield, while secrets are flung out of the windows.

Lumb thinks we’ve all became a little lethargic and screen dependant over lockdown but is reminded every time she goes to see a live show that nothing can replicate the thrilling ephemerality of seeing a performer sing, act, dance, speak, play in the flesh.

Lumb and co. invite audiences to take an emotional joyride through a surreal landscape speed-bumped with revelation, road rage and humour with physical theatre dance and comedy. “We think audiences will connect with the pop culture references in the show and relatability of being on a car ride with a good friend after a night out.

Make sure you go and see something and support all the excellent Melbourne artists who have worked tirelessly to produce art for you! ”

October 11 – 22


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