Courtney Rose Brown
I was hesitant about watching a show performed inside a car, but the simple mic and speaker setup works surprisingly well. The design is minimalist, with only the windscreen decorated and framed with a string of lights around it. Brooks’ direction is evident despite limited blocking. Each scene is framed with a filmic quality and the cast does an exceptional job of keeping the audience engaged through sheer charisma.
Earl and Holibar maintain a lovely chemistry throughout and I enjoy watching them together. Every movement and expression is perfectly executed and the laughs from the audience keep on rolling. Earl’s performance is flamboyant yet somewhat self-conscious of its ‘bigness’. He makes Kyle loveable, as greasy as his character is, and brings the charm. The addition of monologues to Kyle’s character makes him feel like a friend; we don’t fall in love with him, but he feels like someone we have known a long time who’s annoying but you’re used to his company. Holibar’s characters change with his costumes yet each one plays the straight man to Kyle’s character. Holibar’s characters explore friendships and relationships with Kyle and emphasises the internalised homophobia of New Zealand masculinity in his characters. One moment that reoccurs is Shane’s fear of Kyle hugging him.
Wellington has been spoiled for choice at the end of the year for queer representation in theatre and I enjoy how this story isn’t about ‘coming out’ but exploring ideals of gay relationships. Riding in Cars with (Mostly Straight) Boys is a wonderful and sweet comedy that is perfect as a touring show. I recommend seeing Riding in Cars with (Mostly Straight) Boys not only for an entertaining night in the sun but also because I believe it will be life changing for some audiences in it’s portrayal of homosexualitiy beyond stereotypes.