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Ride! Ride!


A musical in 2 Acts. Music: Penelope Thwaites; Lyrics: Alan Thornhill; Book: Alan Thornhill

Westminster Theatre, London - 20th May - 14th July, 1976 (76 perfs)


This was the “story of a crook parson, a quack doctor, a runaway girl and a pestilent preacher”, the last of these being John Wesley, the religious reformer and the founder of the Methodist Church. He spent much of his life on horseback, travelling all over the country taking his mission to the people. One of his converts, a northern girl called Martha Thompson, came to London where her religious fervour was taken to be insanity and she was imprisoned in Bedlam.


The central story is based on experiences within the life of John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist church, and a reformer who regarded society as an instrument for taking care of its members rather than exploiting them, and exposed the hypocrisies of the official churches in relation to societal problems.

In the year 1748, we first encounter 18-year-old Martha Thompson who has run away from a mining town in Northern England.

Hoping for a better life, she has successfully made her way to London but continues to find herself in the same down-and-out, poverty-stricken conditions suffered by others there. She is fortunately saved by taking employment as an assistant to a medical charlatan, a quack. Martha hears of John Wesley's tours throughout Europe, goes to see him speak, and falls for him with her entire being.

She becomes converted to the Methodist message and practices. Through the machinations of a Mrs. Crankshaw and Henry Hobart, a Doctor of Divinity opposed to Wesley, Martha is made into a kind of sacrificial lamb by being incarcerated in Bedlam because of her beliefs.

The rest of the musical involves Wesley's apparent conflict between spreading his message and dealing with Martha's dilemma.

Musical Numbers

  1. Riding Song (Chorus)
  2. The Whole Wide World (Gordon Gostelow, Chorus )
  3. It's Exciting to Be Alive (Gordon Gostelow, Caroline Villiers)
  4. Fiercer Than Coal (Jane Martin, Sandra Ross, Chorus )
  5. Which is which? (Jane Martin, Caroline Villiers)
  6. London Street Cries (Kim Goody, Chorus )
  7. You Can't Make a Living (Kim Goody, Caroline High, Gregory Kane, Eileen Lowes , Raymond Skipp, Chorus )
  8. Strange City (Caroline Villiers)
  9. The Lord Jehovah Reigns (Chorus )
  10. The Garden of England (Brendan Barry)
  11. Why Me? (Gregory Kane)
  12. The Pillars of Society (Brendan Barry, Abby Hadfield, Richard Warner)
  13. He Knows My Name (Richard Owens)
  14. A Nice Little Change of Air (Brendan Barry, Abby Hadfield, Richard Warner)
  15. One By One (Richard Owens)
  16. Everyone Is Needed (Caroline Villiers, Chorus )
  17. What Thou Hast Done (Gordon Gostelow, Chorus )
  18. Riding Song (Caroline Villiers, Chorus )
  19. The Travellers' Blessing (Company) Riding song


MD: Raymond Bishop: