Alexis Dubus: Cars and Girls

What title could be more succinct? Cars and Girls is the story of a young man’s freewheeling adventures in life – looking for excitement, for love and for meaning.

It’s a trip. It’s joyous... the poetry becomes the perfect vehicle for an otherworldly adventure.

Alexis Dubus tells his autobiographical story in rhyme – taking us from the sleepy English village where he grew up, to London, to travels in South America and Europe. Various vehicles and miscellaneous female companions propel his narrative, which culminates in a mind bending and exhilarating adventure at Burning Man, in the Nevada desert.

The verse form is odd to begin with but you become accustomed to the rhythm and Dubus tells his tale in language which is simple but adept and crafted with wit. Bursting with wonder and lust for life he evokes the spirit of the traveller – the wanderer on the highway who finds help and friendship as he goes and learns to trust the universe around him will meet his needs.

Dubus is, of course, the creator of absurd French existentialist Marcel Lucont, so it is no surprise to find he hops in and out of character to introduce the people he meets along the way – becoming a Patagonian lorry driver; a French waiter; the owner of an American desert gas station. For fans of Lucont the disdainful Parisian server is oddly familiar – and a clever nod to the performer’s hilarious and appalling alter ego. But it is when the traveller hits the desert that the magic really starts. Wide-eyed and wide open, Dubus throws himself into the experience of Burning Man - the festival whose followers build a city in the desert where metaphors come to life and dreams become real.

It’s a trip. It’s joyous. And this is where the poetry becomes the perfect vehicle for an otherworldly adventure, a mystical journey into a world where all rules and convention are suspended – but where human beings are revealed as unexpectedly and magically benign.

There’s something very organic and ancient about this style of storytelling, illustrated thematically by photographs of the road, which are revealed and pinned onto a giant passport as we travel along.

Not what I expected. But a beautiful show, an experience shared – which conjures up the spirit of Burning Man so perfectly you start to feel you are there under the stars, breathing the Nevada desert air. 

Reviews by Claire Smith

Soho Theatre

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Alexis Dubus: Cars and Girls

★★★★

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Poetic true-life tales of travel and heartbreak. Top 10 Shows Of 2014, Chortle.co.uk “An hour to treasure ... Uniquely funny” ***** (The Scotsman) “A classy, beautiful piece of work” **** (Chortle) A pacey, heartfelt paean to wanderlust and adventure. Contains traces of UFOs, truckers, bean festivals and the Dutch. Directed by Edinburgh Comedy Award Winner Phil Nichol.

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