The Bike Trip
nytheatre.com review by Danny Bowes
February 25, 2010
In The Bike Trip, monologist Martin Dockery details his tribute to the (accidental) inventor of LSD, Swiss chemist Albert Hoffman, wherein Dockery travels to Switzerland, takes LSD, and rides a rented bike from the former Sandoz chemical laboratories to Dr. Hoffman's home. In Hoffman's experiment—on himself—with his ergot-derived mystery chemical, he rode his bike home from the lab and dealt with the increasing distortion of reality brought on by LSD and realized he had created something new, and very strange. It's unclear whether this is straight history or if Dockery is filling in the blanks in Hoffman's account with his own theory of what happened, but this doesn't matter.
As Dockery tells it, he is quite familiar with LSD, and relates two feverishly detailed experiences, one in San Francisco with a psychic six-year-old (during which story I personally had the, for lack of a better term, trippy experience of discovering that Dockery and the psychic six-year-old share a birthday one day removed from my own), and another in India involving a rave, three cheerfully drunk English people, a lesbian from North Carolina, and a generous man with a spare tab of LSD.
Dockery's gifts as a storyteller border on the supernatural. He, the audience, and the story become one. It's almost as though he induces the psychedelic experience in the audience, from the moment of unbearably intense inception, through the strange and amazing journey to the peak, and ultimately to the moment of peace at which the experience releases the traveler from its grasp.
It is a mark of Dockery's talent that the audience need not share his—apparently quite extensive—experience with LSD in order to share in the experience of the show. Don't know what it's like? Look at that guy. Even though such experiences are subjective, varying as fingerprints or snowflakes. Dockery's power as a performer is such that he is the experience. He will make you trip.
Long story short, go see The Bike Trip. Oh, go see The Bike Trip.