CRUISE | London, Apollo Theatre

Created by writer and actor Jack Holden, this 100-minute one-man show takes us on a trip down memory lane, as Michael remembers falling in love with a bear called “Slutty Dave” in 1980s Soho, who then tragically dies of AIDS. Michael mysteriously lives to tell the tale, twenty years later, to a woefully unprepared telephone volunteer at Switchboard, the LGBT+ helpline.

The moment the play ends, the audience rush to their feet in a roaring, screaming, almost feral ovation. Firstly, Holden’s performance is flawless: he delivers his word-perfect monologue for 100 minutes, without even once coming up for breath, portraying a slew of completely different characters, singing multiple songs and dancing multiple dances along the way. It’s a feat of complete technical brilliance.

Secondly, we want to show our grief for the AIDS crisis, and all the many gay men, like “Slutty Dave”, who died too young and were vilified for so-called poor life choices (addressed in a brilliant scene with a newly-badged copper). Thirdly, we want to share our nostalgia for the period’s iconic rave and club scene, with a score composed and performed live by John Patrick Elliott.

Despite the title, the show barely touches on the history of cruising (i.e. soliciting gay sex in public places), though makes some point about the importance of Tom Cruise, and that life itself is a “cruise”. This is a show for lovers of the “old” Soho, and those who mourn the loss of eighties and nineties club culture.

Playing in London’s West End 13 August – 4 September 2022.

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