Coming-of-age play set in a car takes a summer trip around the North Island.

Having spent much of winter overseas - 77 shows seen, including 52 at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival alone - playwright Sam Brooks and former Shortland Street star Geordie Holibar want to keep moving.

So, with actor Tim Earl, who played Christopher in the play The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, they'll spend early summer taking one of Brook's award-winning plays on an Auckland and North Island tour.

After all, Riding in Cars with (Mostly Straight) Boys is set in a car, so it's easy to pack up the set and hit the road. Although Holibar, best known for his long-running stint as Phoenix Raynor on Shortland Street, looks a tad concerned about how they'll fit a sound system in Earl's Toyota Starlet.

Was being able to provide a car part of the reason Earl got the job?


No, laughs Brooks, it's because Earl's a fine actor and looks the right age for Riding in Cars, which debuted at the Wellington Fringe and Auckland Pride festivals in 2014. That same year, Brooks received a Highly Commended Prize at the Adam Play Awards.

The play is entirely autobiographical. In the coming-of-age tale, Earl plays Kyle, a 16-year-old gay teen who, like Brooks, has crushes on straight guys and does not drive; Holibar plays the "crushes", including one who confides a secret to Kyle.

The play is set in a car, parked in a carpark outside whichever theatre they're performing at. Brooks was especially keen to tour Riding in Cars to places where they don't see a lot of LGBT theatre.

"Because there will be young people there who are coming to terms with their identity," he says. "I want to see how people react to seeing gay characters actually existing in fiction that was made here, how it speaks about us and to us in the most authentic way possible."

Earl says he related to the stories Brooks was sharing and was keen to be a part of a site-specific show.

"I thought, in a lot of ways, that it could have been my story and to be part of bringing that to others was really exciting. I would have loved to have seen something like that when I was 16."

Holibar, Brooks' straight best friend, says he likes that the script is honest and heartfelt. "I see so much of Sam in the character."

What: Riding in Cars with (Mostly Straight) Boys
Where & when: Basement Theatre, Saturday, November 7; then on to Whangarei's Wood Street carpark before returning to Auckland's Te Pou, Tuesday, November 15 to Friday, November 18; Mangere Arts Centre, Saturday, November 19 to Tuesday, November 22 then to Palmerston North and Wellington.