It’s Soho, 1988. Michael has reached the end of a four-year prognosis after contracting HIV. With the clock ticking, he’s heading out to bid farewell to friends, allies, exes and his favourite old haunts. But after getting his affairs in order and spending what little he has left on drinks and drugs, Michael manages to survive. This raises the question: what kind of life can he now live?
Jack Holden. Photo: Jack Hextall
Cruise is directed by Bronagh Lagan (Broken Wings, Theatre Royal Haymarket; The Adventures of Pinocchio, Ambassadors Theatre) and features an 80s-inspired score performed live by composer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist John Elliot. Ahead of its West End run, Cruise has been filmed on stage at Shoreditch Town Hall, and is available to stream online via stream.theatre from 15 - 25 April (for £12 per device).
The Aids epidemic of the 80s has been the focus of several powerful dramas in recent years, most recently Russell T Davies's exceptional five-part series It’s A Sin. On the stage, the 2017 revival of Tony Kushner’s Pulitzer prize-winning play Angels in America received multiple Tony and Olivier awards, and has recently been added to the National Theatre’s bank of plays to stream at home. Matthew Lopez’s 2018 Aids drama The Inheritance was another big hit, scooping up four Olivier awards – including Best New Play – and transferring to Broadway in 2019. As such, the arrival of Cruise feels especially timely.
John Elliot. Photo: Jack Hextall
Of his first play, Jack Holden said: ‘Cruise is based on a true story I was told while I was a volunteer for Switchboard, the LGBTQ+ Listening Service. I was in a weird, unstable, self-destructive part of my early 20s. This story, among others, taught me my gay history, put my life into perspective, and helped me to grow up. The names and a lot of the events have been changed, and a hell of a lot of material has been imagined. This play is a tribute to a generation decimated by HIV and AIDs, a memorial for the old days of Soho, a celebration of electronic music, and an excuse to dance.’
Cruise is available to stream online via stream.theatre from Thursday 15 - Sunday 25 April. Click here to watch online. Cruise is being performed live at the West End’s Duchess Theatre from Tuesday 18 May - Sunday 13 June. Click here to book.
|What||Cruise, Duchess Theatre|
|Where||Duchess Theatre, 3-5 Catherine Street, London, WC2B 5LA | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Covent Garden (underground)|
18 May 21 – 13 Jun 21, Performances at 8pm, and additionally at 3pm on Saturday and 6pm on Sunday
|Website||Click here for more information and to book|