Cruise ★★★★★ Apollo Theatre | Aug 13 - Sep 4, 2022

Ostensibly, Cruise concerns a young man, Jack, who, while working for an LGBT+ crisis hotline, receives a call from Michael, an older gay man who has lived through the AIDS trauma of the '80s. Their dialogue is by turns humorous and poignant as their interaction develops, and the play explores the subject of finding and honouring one's community and one's chosen family. Cruising becomes a metaphor for life's journey and those relationships and encounters, brief or longterm, that sustain and enrich us. Jack Holden's play becomes a celebration of the complexity and adversities that all people end up coping with. It is a beautifully written piece that should resonate with everyone, whether they are a part of the LGBT+ community or not. For us, it was quite astounding that Holden's talents were not confined to writing this thoroughly gripping theatrical work. He also takes on, and triumphs in, the task of bringing to life a wide variety of fascinating and recognisable characters. He moves seamlessly from creating innocent Jack to experienced Michael and ends up populating a world with people like Slutty Dave and Polari Gordon. It is an award-deserving performance marked by a wonderfully clear and crisp delivery plus apparently boundless energy. Kudos also to Bronagh Lagan and John Patrick Elliott. The show is always visually stimulating and the pacing is perfect. At the same time, the music thoughtfully underlines and cleverly advances the narrative. It is easy to run out of superlatives to describe this production. The advice from the entertainment hotline is "Go see Cruise!"

Rated: ★★★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Pamela Raith.

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