Following rave reviews and recognition during a successful West End run in the UK, the hit stage production CRUISE, the play is now heading to Cape Town to bring a deep and darkly funny snapshot of gay culture in 1980s London. The show runs at Homecoming Centre (formerly Fugard Theatre) in the CBD from 12 to 30 April.
This one-man play, written and originally performed by Jack Holden, is a touching tribute to gay culture in the 80s and how AIDS changed the community forever. The story follows Michael Spencer who is diagnosed with HIV in 1984 and told he will have four years left to live. So, with the clock ticking, he and his partner Dave decide to sell their house and car, spend everything, and party like it is the last days of the world.
Benn Ndzoyiya narrowed down 6 reasons why you should book your tickets today! The production runs for 90 minutes with no intervals and the age limit is 16. Tickets can be booked via Quicket.
IT’S BASED ON A TRUE STORY THAT’S VERY RELEVANT RIGHT NOW
CRUISE is based on a true story Holden was told whilst volunteering for an LGBTQ+ Listening Service and pays tribute to a generation decimated by HIV/AIDS.
‘This play sits perfectly relevant here in South Africa, within our current time. Now more than ever (somewhat sadly) our world still has so much further to travel in terms of acceptance of all. To ‘live every day like it is your last, in the present – This story can be related to individual stories and can find home with each of us,” says Josh Lindberg, director of the South African production.
THIS IS THE HIT SHOW’S VERY FIRST INTERNATIONAL STAGING OUTSIDE THE UK
CRUISE opened in the West End of London as the first play to surface out of the pandemic. It ran for a month at The Duchess Theatre and due to a positive public response and rave reviews, transferred to the Apollo Theatre in the West End, closing in September 2022.
The very first staging outside of the United Kingdom ran at Theatre Linden in Johannesburg from 6 to 11 December 2022 for six shows. With the same crew tasked to showcase the Cape Town production, we’re all in for a steady and more confident iteration.
THE ONE-MAN PERFORMANCE CHALLENGE FOR LOCAL LEAD, DANIEL GEDDES
Actor Daniel Geddes stated excitedly; ‘Taking on a role of this scope and acclaim was super exciting and humbling. It was especially nerve-wracking stepping into Jack’s shoes as the original writer/performer. Can we do his piece justice? The responses from the Joburg audiences in December were a resounding ‘Yes’. This Olivier-nominated play is so important, and exceptionally beautiful. I can’t wait for Cape Town audiences to see Jack’s amazing work for the first time this April.’
Geddes is an established name in the local arts scene with many meaty stage and tv credits behind his name and holds a Wits Bachelor degree in the Arts.
THE SLICK MUSIC DIRECTION TO MATCH 80S EUPHORIA
Music forms a crucial part of gay culture, especially in the 80s. ‘Music, and what was happening to music production through the era of Cruise is interesting in itself – DJs were becoming producers and using music to manipulate the experience on the dance floor,’ says director Josh Lindberg. ‘He continues: ‘The soundtrack, uniquely created by John Patrick Elliott for the original production and then adapted by us (with his strong input) for our production; plays an important part in the journey of the piece -setting the rhythm of the piece as it flows with the rhythm of the language structure.’
Elliot’s music direction for the play ultimately scored him the Stage Debut Award for Best Composer in the UK last year.
THE VIBRANT SET AND LIGHTING DESIGN
With quite a few nightclub settings featured throughout the play, it was important to capture the mood with set design and lighting. ‘Light, set structures and sound become storytelling tools – architecture, lines, and boxes that metaphorically hold each individual story – and then release them. This is the kind of work that grows,’ says director, Josh Lindberg
Prolific theatre set designer Wilhelm Disbergen, another Wits alumni, is responsible for the design structures and framing. Disbergen worked for major stage productions in South Africa and London, and won Naledi Theatre and Fleur du Cap awards for lighting design.
Lighting designer Jane Gosnell taps into her wealth of experience to transport audience members with cinematic neon glory to complement the show with ease. Gosnell’s diverse career in the entertainment business spans 50 years with highlights across the globe including memorable moments lighting up Johnny Clegg’s performance in Namibia’s Fish River Canyon.
CRUISE RAKED IN BIG NOMINATIONS IN THE UK
It’s not easy to put up a new play and win over both critics and theatergoers in the UK. With CRUISE, Jack Holden has done just that. Top critics from The Guardian, Evening Standard, The Telegraph, and many more welcomed the production very positively.
Nominations include the prestigious Olivier Award for Best New Play in 2022 alongside numerous industry awards in the UK while John Patrick Elliott won the Stage Debut Award for Best Composer.
A feature film of CRUISE is currently in development!
When: From 12 to 30 April. Wed to Fri, 7:30pm | Sat, 5pm & 7:30pm | Sun, 2:30pm
Cost: R195pp, book via Quicket
Where: The Homecoming Centre (formerly Fugard Theatre), 15 M59, District Six, Cape Town