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Escape From Planet Trash


Pleasance Theatre

Escape From Planet Trash

Escape From Planet Trash

Pleasance Theatre

Reviewed – 21st November 2019



“combines drag, sci-fi and innuendo galore to create the perfect foil for the abundance of family-friendly shows on for the holidays”


It is the year 2050. Earth is no more and is instead known as Planet Trash, the dumping ground for the entire universe. East London drag queen Ginger Johnson and her 28-year-old son Sonny (David Cumming) are its last survivors and spend their days foraging through rubbish. That is until an impending solar flare threatens to obliterate the planet and a discarded weapon that the Intergalactic Government is desperate to get its hands on. Cue the arrival of the Captain of the Star Corp voyager (Mairi Houston) and the ambiguously gendered Private P. P. Parts (Mahatma Khandi).

Their quest, however, soon turns sour when an army of mutant turkeys decide to seek revenge on the human race for having eaten them at Christmases past. Now, it’s up to Ginger and Sonny to save the day and stop the eradication of mankind. Sink the Pink’s brand-new seasonal production Escape From Planet Trash combines drag, sci-fi and innuendo galore to create the perfect foil for the abundance of family-friendly shows on for the holidays.

Johnson and Cumming are the strongest in their roles, with the former having no trouble working the crowd. The rest of the cast sadly do not always seem sure of themselves or their lines. The plot that is set up in the play’s opening scenes is unfortunately rather quickly forgotten. Loose ends are rife in this production and the solar flare and ever-so-important weapon hardly get a look-in.

There are some moments of serious commentary. The play reflects on the climate crisis and capitalist greed and drag artists Maxi More and Lavinia Co-op join the cast as two dark tourists travelling the galaxy. Silliness however wins out in Escape From Planet Trash but without a solid narrative – which Ginger in fact jokes about the play needing – it is hard to be fully invested.

The set is multi-tiered with characters able to ascend and descend several sets of stairs. This makes for some dynamic visuals even when little else is happening on stage. To the left of the stage, the entrance to a sewer pipe and, above it, the interior of Star Corp’s spaceship. To the right, the tin shack house of Ginger and Sonny complete with rooftop terrace and light-up HOME sign. The centre of the stage sits on a rotating platform which allows for some great reveals such as Lavinia tap dancing as the Johnson’s home spins around. The set did pose a few hiccups including the shack’s door swinging open unexpectedly and revealing actors preparing for the next scene.

The lighting (Clancy Flynn) is solid throughout and used atmospherically. Costumes (Julia Smith) are a lot of fun with Ginger wearing a particularly ostentatious white plastic see through mesh bodysuit with a clear plastic overcoat.

The musical direction (Sarah Bodalbhai) is overall very strong. A rendition of Always Look on the Bright Side of Life from Monty Python’s Life of Brian (which the cast sing to a literal piece of shit played by Lavinia) that ends with a reference to the ‘dis-gus-tang’ video meme is a definite highlight. All the songs are a real blast though the cast do struggle to get the audience to sing along even at moments which beg for it. A finale song would also be good to round off the show in true pantomime fashion.

Escape From Planet Trash is a barrel of laughs and as silly as it is campy. Though the production lacks polish at times, you would be hard-pressed to not enjoy Sink the Pink’s newest endeavour.


Reviewed by Flora Doble

Photography by Ali Wright


Escape From Planet Trash

Pleasance Theatre until 22nd December


Last ten shows reviewed at this venue:
The Accident Did Not Take Place | ★★ | October 2019
The Fetch Wilson | ★★★★ | October 2019
The Hypnotist | ★★½ | October 2019
The Perfect Companion | ★★★★ | October 2019
The Unseen Hour | ★★★★ | October 2019
Endless Second | ★★★ | November 2019
Heroin(e) For Breakfast | ★★★★★ | November 2019
Land Of My Fathers And Mothers And Some Other People | ★★★★ | November 2019
Madame Ovary | ★★★★★ | November 2019
Wireless Operator | ★★★★ | November 2019


Click here to see our most recent reviews


Black is the Color of my Voice

The Vaults

Color of my Voice

Black is the Color of my Voice

The Vaults

Reviewed – 28th June 2019



“Campbell has created something full of emotion, with engaging dialogue and beautifully executed vocals”


Nina Simone was born Eunice Kathleen Waymon on 21st February 1933, in Tryon, North Carolina. She was, and still is, widely regarded as one of the most influential recording artists of the 20th century. But what was life like for her? Apphia Campbell has written and also performs in Black is the Color of My Voice, a piece inspired by the life of celebrated performer, Nina Simone.

Campbell, as Simone, is alone in the performance space, delivering her lines to a photograph of her late father, who it is clear she has deep affections for. She very much involves and engages the audience, addressing lines to us, as well as the photograph. Throughout the piece, we are taken on a journey through Simone’s life, from her childhood discovering a love of playing the piano, to her romantic relationships, abuse endured and her commitment to the American Civil Rights Movement. Although the piece is set in one room, furnished with a bed, a desk and chairs, it’s easy to imagine the other various locations spoken about, as a result of the descriptive dialogue and enchanting storytelling.

The emotion and passion shown throughout is inspiring to say the least. You can’t help but be drawn in to each and every experience of the singer that is shared on stage. There are light moments, including amusing impressions of Simone’s mother when she learned of her daughter’s interest in jazz, “the devil’s music”. The darker moments, including a recollection of Simone’s abusive marriage, are heartbreaking and a great deal of empathy is created.

Lighting (Clancy Flynn) and sound (Tom Lishman) design during the section of the piece highlighting Simone’s horror over events surrounding the American Civil Rights Movement is hugely effective. Recordings of real news segments, the aftermath of horrific events and speeches are played, as well as lights flashing as she changes T.V channels. These elements, combined with Campbell’s acting abilities, ensure a highly dramatic and tense section of the piece.

You don’t necessarily need to be a fan of Nina Simone to be absorbed in this show. Apphia Campbell has created something full of emotion, with engaging dialogue and beautifully executed vocals in songs interwoven throughout. Direction by Arran Hawkins and Nate Jacobs has ensured the space is used well and the energy never falters. It’s clear why Campbell’s show has enjoyed worldwide success in recent years.


Reviewed by Emily K Neal

Photography by Geraint Lewis


Black is the Color of my Voice

The Vaults until 13th July


Last ten shows reviewed at this venue:
Ares | ★★★★ | March 2019
Check In/Check Out | ★★★ | March 2019
Donal The Numb | ★★★★ | March 2019
Essex Girl | ★★★★ | March 2019
Feed | ★★★★ | March 2019
How Eva Von Schnippisch Won WWII | ★★★★ | March 2019
The Talented Mr Ripley | ★★★★ | March 2019
Vulvarine | ★★★★★ | March 2019
Me and my Whale | ★★★ | June 2019
Bare: A Pop Opera | ★★★ | June 2019


Click here to see more of our latest reviews on thespyinthestalls.com