World Premiere of Jack Holden’s ‘CRUISE’ to reopen London’s Duchess Theatre from 18 May 2021!

Aria Entertainment and Lambert Jackson have today announced that the world premiere of CRUISE will reopen the Duchess Theatre in London’s West End from 18 May to 13 June 2021.

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.

Based on a true story Jack was told whilst volunteering for Switchboard, the LGBTQ+ Listening Service, this new play pays tribute to a generation decimated by HIV and AIDs. Bringing to life 1980’s Soho, this kaleidoscopic musical is a celebration of queer culture with an uplifting 80s electronic soundtrack performed live by John Elliott.

Directed by Bronagh Lagan, the filmed version will still be available to watch from 15 April to 25 April at Stream.Theatre before it arrives at the Duchess Theatre.

~ 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?

The full creative team includes Jack Holden (writer and performer), John Elliott (Music and Sound Design), Bronagh Lagan (Director), Nik Corrall (Design), STUFISH Entertainment Architects (Co-Design), Jai Morjaria (Lighting Designer), Sarah Golding (Movement) and Max Pappenheim (Additional Sound Design).

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

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