A Tim Rogers classic is being turned into a “boutique” musical

Tim Rogers’ debut solo album is being re-imagined as a “boutique musical”.

What Rhymes with Cars and Girls – his 1999 country-tinged classic, wedged between You Am I’s underrated #4 Record and Dress Me Slowly – has inspired an original production that will make its world premiere at the Melbourne Theatre Company in February. A collaboration between Rogers (who is listed as musical director), playwright Aidan Fennessy and director Clare Watson, What Rhymes with Cars and Girls has been billed as a tale of love in contemporary Australia.

“This is the ballad of Tash and Johnno, brought together by a conjunction of the stars and a pizza delivery gone weird,” reads the synopsis. “Tash is a smart-mouthed singer in a band and Johnno’s a three-time loser from the wrong side of the tracks. But, what do you know? It’s love.”


Posting on Facebook, Rogers says Fennessy’s script was the catalyst for the project. “What Rhymes.. was a record I’d danced to the corners of my emotional memory, and wanted to keep it there, until Aidan sent me a script that astounded me,” he writes. “I’d been cynical about the songs and their sustenance, thinking their worth was simply historical, or geographical, but this play tells a story beyond what I ever imagined. What a fucking thrill.”

Written following the dissolution of a long-term relationship and Rogers’ subsequent shift to Melbourne, What Rhymes With Cars and Girls was recorded at the Fitzroy home studio of Weddings Parties Anything violinist Jen Anderson. It was credited to Rogers and The Twin Set, a band of local musicians – including Anderson, drummer Ian Kitney and the late Stuart Speed on upright bass – hastily formed around the idea of an album. “It was a very organic record in the way that it developed,” Anderson told FL sister site Mess+Noise, ahead of a run of 10-year reunion shows in 2009. (Click here to read the full interview).

What Rhymes With Cars and Girls (the musical) runs from February 13 to March 28 at Melbourne Theatre Company. More details here.