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First look at Jack Holden's Cruise in the West End

Cruise - Photo by Pamela Raith Photography

A first look at Cruise in the West End has been revealed ahead of opening night.

Written and performed by Jack Holden (War Horse, West End; Ink, Almeida Theatre), Cruise is an urgent, moving and inspirational new play with live music and spoken word. Bringing to life 1980’s Soho, this one-man show is a celebration of queer culture; a kaleidoscopic musical and spoken word tribute to the veterans of the AIDs crisis.

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Following a live streamed film released earlier this year, the show reopened in person performances at the Duchess Theatre in the West End on 18 May where it is running to 13 June. Tickets are on sale now here.

Cruise - Photo by Pamela Raith Photography
Cruise – Photo by Pamela Raith Photography
Cruise - Photo by Pamela Raith Photography
Cruise – Photo by Pamela Raith Photography

Based on true stories Jack was told whilst volunteering for Switchboard, the LGBTQ+ Listening Service, this new play, directed by Bronagh Lagan, shines a light on a generation devastated by HIV and AIDs.

The show will feature an uplifting 80s electronic soundtrack featuring classic anthems as well as original new music performed live by The Little Unsaid’s John Elliott.

Cruise - Photo by Pamela Raith Photography
Cruise – Photo by Pamela Raith Photography
Cruise - Photo by Pamela Raith Photography
Cruise – Photo by Pamela Raith Photography

~ February 29th, 1988. Soho, London. ~

CRUISE is the true story of what should have been Michael Spencer’s last night on Earth. When Michael is diagnosed with HIV in 1984, he’s told he’ll have four years to live – at most. So, with the clock ticking, he and his partner, Dave, decide to sell their house, flog the car, spend everything they have and party like it’s the last days of Rome. When Dave dies two years later, Michael doubles down on his hedonistic ways, spending what little he has left and drowning himself in drink and drugs.

On the last night of his four-year countdown – the 29th February, 1988 – Michael decides to go out with a bang. He puts on his favourite jacket, heads for Soho, and embarks on a long night of farewells. He says his goodbyes to friends, enemies and strangers; old haunts, dive bars, cafes, clubs and pubs; his brothers, sisters, allies and exes. He dances, sings, and says yes to everything and everyone. Then, with all his affairs taken care of, Michael promptly… survives. Michael got lucky, and he goes on to live to a ripe old age. Michael has been given the gift of life; but what kind of life can he now live?

Cruise - Photo by Pamela Raith Photography
Cruise – Photo by Pamela Raith Photography
Cruise - Photo by Pamela Raith Photography
Cruise – Photo by Pamela Raith Photography

The full creative team for the piece includes Jack Holden (Writer and Performer), John Elliott (Music Composer, Performer and Sound Design), Bronagh Lagan (Director), Jack Hextall (Camera and Editor), Nik Corrall (Set and Costume Design), Jai Morjaria (Lighting Design) Sarah Golding (Movement) and Max Pappenheim (Additional Sound Design).

Cruise marks the West End debut as a playwright for Jack Holden and for theatre producers Katy Lipson and Lambert Jackson.

Initial development supported by Help Musicians Fusion Fund and Shoreditch Town Hall.

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