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  • Writer's pictureFrances

Cruise The Play Review | HOMEmcr | Manchester

Weaving a simply mesmerising production of humour and lightness around liberation and the HIV/Aids crisis. Cruise tells the story of Michael Spencer as he continuously flirts with death after being diagnosed with HIV and told he has only four years to live.

In an attempt to have a truly fulfilling finally to his life, Michael (Jack Holden) and his partner, Dave sell their house and all their belongings before spiralling into of world of parties and drugs that accumulates in Michael’s final long night of farewells. The Olivier Award nominated production was inspired by a true story that writer and performer, Holden was told while volunteering for Switchboard and the tour deforce performance sees Holden switching between the friends, family and foes that Michael meets along the way.

Accepting the reality of his new diagnosis, Michael decides to fashion his own future with the help of moving music and sympathetic friends. Freely drifting into sobering funerals and vibrant LGBTQ+ spaces as the story showcases the precarious lens of living with HIV/AIDS at the beginning of the epidemic. Holden has created a fantastically fatalistic production that blinds the audience with personality and LED lighting. Dominating the HOME stage with a shimmering and intimate performance along with director Bronagh Lagan’s simple two-tiered design that gels together the immensely honest story with a constant glow of optimism. Presenting a bittersweet portrait of life and the fervour of the 80’s club scene with a live electronic soundtrack performed by John Patrick Elliott, the production underscores the party and more haunting moments with the omnipresent musician hovering above Michael throughout the show.

Cruise offers a vibrant, adrenaline filled production that is wrapped in Holden’s absorbing performance. Helping to spin the heavy subject matter of AIDS into a heartfelt and vulnerability storyline that doesn’t become jaded due to the barrage of easy flowing characters he conjures up. While partying ferociously throughout this tragicomedy and sharing the chaos of living with a death sentence, Cruise is a punchy production that definitely leaves a lasting impression after the party has ended.

Tickets are available via the HOMEmcr link


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