The real star of this show sits outside throughout the performance. Chris Dobowolski has driven his old Triumph Herald all the way from Essex to Edinburgh for this live art show which tells the story of his family and the car which has been with him since his birth. He shows us family photos from a projector; the car is always there somewhere, photobombing the picture.
As if Essex to Edinburgh weren’t enough, Chris quickly comes to the central story of the show, the pilgrimage he, the Triumph and his Italian girlfriend made to the Italian studios which designed the car. Chris goes silent at this point and plays us a slideshow of images of the rainy, breakdown-plagued trip to strains of ‘Here Comes the Sun’. They make it in the end, though, and turn up unannounced on the doorstep of the design studios. Chris has a touching meeting with the son of the designer, Micholetti, who actually quite likes the idea of this odd Englishman driving all the way to Italy on the off-chance he might be in.
Up until this point the laughs have come thick and fast. Chris is a very talented, quick-witted performer, jokingly ushering in some latecomers who found themselves at the wrong entrance to the room as if it was just part of the show. The latter half of his performance is no less hilarious, but takes on a darker tone as Chris continues his Italian journey touring the battlefields where his father fought in the Second World War.
This is also an opportunity for Chris to show off the things he makes, including a windscreen-wiper powered Mussolini. Chris cleverly contrasts this kind of humour with awful scenes from his father’s wartime experiences. His dad was there when they strung up Mussolini and his henchmen from the Esso petrol station; in homage Chris drives around the square in the Triumph filming the buildings which stand there today until we see what occupies the exact spot today. I’m not telling you what it is, but it’s ironically crowned with a big yellow ‘M’.
Dobowolski’s one man show is an hour of charismatic storytelling which invites its audience inside the Triumph Herald for a multimedia drive through his life.