REVIEW: CRUISE (Duchess Theatre)

Cruise, written and performed by rising star Jack Holden, tells the true story of an experience he had volunteering for Switchboard, the LGBTQ+ Listening Service and one particular conversation with a caller.

The story takes us back to the 80s, when life for gay people was very different to how it is now. Michael and his partner Dave are diagnosed with HIV and given four years at the most to live, with no treatment available at that time. This new play shines a light on a generation devastated by HIV and AIDs and how they could do nothing but watch as their friends and loved ones disappeared one by one. Clubbing, drinking, drugs, promiscuous sex and everything in-between – this was a hedonistic time and the play portrays the story with no judgement.

Cruise is not just a one man play. It features an uplifting 80s electronic soundtrack performed live on stage by the multi-talented John Elliott who plays all kinds of instruments whilst mixing the whole thing together, adding to the 80s nightclub feel of the piece. The whole set is glorious, bringing the streets of Soho in the 1980s to life perfectly.

But it is Jack Holden who really makes the whole thing work so well. The acting is perfect, easily switching between characters and scenes. His singing voice is beautiful and he’s even got a few dance moves he busts out during the performance.

Cruise is playing at the Duchess Theatre until 13 June 2021 and really is one you don’t want to miss. It’s a play with music that will transport you back to the 80s whist giving a real life account of what gay life was like at that time. It’s a beautifully told story by an actor and playwright who has a very bright future ahead of him.


Reviewed by West End Wilma
Photo: Pamela Raith Photography