Tag Archives: David Cumming

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

 

Operation Mincemeat
★★★★★

New Diorama Theatre

Operation Mincemeat

Operation Mincemeat

New Diorama Theatre

Reviewed – 17th May 2019

★★★★★

 

“With such a small audience and such a big production, it feels like everyone has the best seats in a much bigger theatre”

 

This is the true story of how a floating corpse kept Hitler off our shores. Set in the Home Office in 1943, the Double Cross Committee is busy brainstorming brilliant plans to win the war – exploding seagulls, spies disguised as flamingos and eavesdropping insects are all among their finest ideas. But the winning gambit involves the corpse of a soon-to-be married young man named Bill, who enjoys cocktails at the Ritz, dinner at the Groucho Club, fine tailoring and, oh yes, he’s not real.

Sitting somewhere between Monty Python and Mission Impossible, SpitLip’s ‘Operation Mincemeat’ is full of catchy numbers, quick wit, and a lot of heart. Each cast member transforms in to a plethora of dimensional characters with a mere hip swagger or a slight pursing of the lips. A lot of fun is had with gender roles and stereotypes, and to great effect.

Felix Hagan’s musical direction also sees a brilliant display of composition, and musical ability from the whole cast: each and every one sings beautifully and, believe it or not, raps like a pro. Special mention goes to Zoe Roberts (playing Bevan among others) whose rhythm is infectious – you feel as though you might accidentally join in. Along with his brilliant physical comedy, Jak Malone also has a heart-breaking falsetto – a surprising yet effective combination.

The set (Helen Coyston) and lighting design (Sherry Coenen) create illusions of a much grander space, illustrated with particular prowess during a hectic split-scene between a big, bawdy cabaret song and dance, and a dark and echoing submarine under threat of attack. With such a small audience and such a big production, it feels like everyone has the best seats in a much bigger theatre.

This production has the feel of something just on the cusp of great success – see it before word gets out and there are no tickets left!

 

Reviewed by Miriam Sallon

Photography by Alex Harvey-Brown 

 


Operation Mincemeat

New Diorama Theatre until 15th June

 

Previously reviewed at this venue:
Close Up | ★★★ | February 2018
It Made me Consider | ★★★ | February 2018
Trap Street | ★★★★ | March 2018
Left my Desk | ★★★★ | May 2018
Bitter | ★★★ | June 2018
Taking Flight | ★★★ | June 2018
4.48 Psychosis | ★★★★ | September 2018
Boys | ★★★★★ | November 2018
The War Of The Worlds | ★★★½ | January 2019

 

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