Escape From Planet Trash
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: