The Bike Trip- Dockery Continues to Deliver

Brianna McFarlane

                Having missed Wanderlust at last year’s Fringe festival and having heard all the buzz surrounding the show, I made sure to get my ticket early for Martin Dockery’s return to Ottawa, The Bike Trip.  The piece focuses on Dockery’s attempt to recreate the first ever LSD trip taken by Albert Hofmann, the man who first synthesized the compound for LSD and tested it on himself, and that legitimately involved a bicycle, and he manages to weave a hallucinogenic  tapestry of a tale about his love affair with acid. This show actually made me even more disappointed in myself for having missed Wanderlust because Dockery is clearly a master storyteller.

The only things present on stage in the Arts Court courtroom are a chair and a single black curtain hanging upstage that is used for the performer to hide behind during the transitions in story. Dockery maintains an easy-going, laid back energy on stage and his presence is incredibly engaging. As he progresses further into his stories and consequently deeper into each successive trip, we see his pace become more frantic, circular, and panicked: the behaviour indicative of what is colloquially termed to be “tripping balls”. The inner workings of the brain on LSD are vocalised by the performer and the ways in which the mind tries to over-work normally simple situations often made for some hilarious outbursts. However, the moments I appreciated most were ones where Dockery was able to sit in the chair and just tell his story while still remaining completely engaging by using a variety of postures, voices, and gestures.

Though I did feel that each of the three stories Dockery tells could have been cut down by five or so minutes, I thoroughly enjoyed The Bike Trip and felt that it is one of the strongest one man shows the Fringe, and even Ottawa, has seen in a long time. I sincerely hope Mr. Dockery returns to Ottawa Fringe 2014, where I will be eagerly coveting front row seats!