Motor Vehicle Sundown, Mayfest, Bristol – review
On a highway to nowhere…
‘Take a seat in the last motor vehicle on earth’. That’s the premise for this bite-sized audio theatre piece which is part love-song to the car and part dystopian vision.
Two audience members sit in a car in a deserted car park in the city centre, armed with headphones and an MP3 player. A soundtrack begins: ‘This is the last car in the universe. It used to be one of millions…’ We’re told to sit in the car, close our eyes and imagine we’re speeding along a narrow road, late at night. Then we’re at the drive-in watching a 50s horror flick. Now it’s early and we’re driving along broad roads on concrete pillars reaching to the sky.
There are moments of exquisite poetry and nostalgia in Andy Field’s Motor Vehicle Sundown, which is part of Mayfest, Bristol – glimpses into the bygone glamour of motoring and an audio tribute to the excitement of the open road.
But I struggled to accept the premise – not least because I had been driving myself only a couple of hours before – and because we were in the middle of a car park, even if no other cars were visible. What’s more, for a show which relied on evoking a smoke-filled, leather-upholstered, space-for-seducting vision of a car, the modern, banged-up bright blue Toyota the whole thing took place in was a bit of wet flannel.
Still, maybe that was the point.
Towards the end, the show starts to become something different – there’s a political edge which seems out of place and a fairly gratuitous reference to 9/11. Aside from this incongruous diversion, this is an enjoyable, unorthodox look at our love-affair with cars.
Practical info: there are only two audience members at any time and it’s probably slightly less awkward if you know the person you go with (the voice of experience…)
Motor Vehicle Sundown is on in Bristol at various times until 24 May