Escape From Planet Trash at Pleasance Theatre: If eco-consciousness could wear thigh-high boots and spandex, it would look like this
The colony of organised turkeys, seeking revenge for Christmases past in which we have traditionally feasted on their flesh is a brilliant twist of fates.
Sink the Pink returns with another side-splittingly funny Christmas production centred around a mother and her unsocialised son, vengeful turkeys, a self-deprecating turd, a space crew and even Greta Thunberg. Our multifaceted host, director, author and set designer, Ginger Johnson keeps has a wonderfully contagious energy about her as she plays a scouse mother, dressed like a typically 50s housewife in an apron and vintage-style headscarf. Earth has been abandoned by humankind- or at least most of them – leaving behind sentimental survivors and mutant beings in what is now a destitute wasteland. By wheeling in a tea trolley for her guests from space, laden with treasures that are salvaged from the trash that has been left behind such as out-of-date rice pudding in a tin, Johnson helps us appreciate the small things and remember that Earth will always be our home.
Set in a dystopian future – which doesn’t seem too far away considering that impending doom of climate change has already turned up – planet Earth is an abandoned, toxic wasteland that is simply filled with garbage. Ginger Johnson (writer, director and drag star) and her simple, somewhat underdeveloped, but sweet 28-year-old son (David Cumming) live in a small shack of corrugated iron with huge letters spelling ‘HOME’ using lights. They power their home using a stationary be that seems to be connected to some sort of generator. Her son often pretends to be an explorer, speaking into an imagined communication device on his wrist, animatedly looking out from his hiding spot before somersaulting across to fill his time. However, two actual two space explorers crash-land on Earth; the captain is played by Sink the Pink regular Mairi Houston and she is accompanied by the incredibly sassy Private Parts (Mahatma Khandi) – also known as pee-pee. It is Christmastime, which appears to be the perfect time for the uprising of the turkeys who are fed up of being eaten every year. During an evening of merry-making, Private Parts is kidnapped by the turkey flock and group embark on an adventure which takes them through an anus portal, opened by poppers, and through the sewers in which they also meet a sentient turd.
Sink the Pink has done it again by giving us another outrageously funny production of cheeky innuendos and sass. Private Parts isn’t human and able to regenerate the genitalia of anyone that she has copulated with on her own body – she therefore uses her talents by having sex for research. The colony of organised turkeys, seeking revenge for Christmases past in which we have traditionally feasted on their flesh is a brilliant twist of fates. The self-deprecating turd in the sewer is a personal favourite as he urges to group not to look at him because of his foul appearance; who couldn’t relate to that, especially the morning after a heavy night.
For a play that is comically absurd, and outrageously funny, there is a very serious and solemn moment in it where we remember that this dystopian future isn’t so far-fetched. In a beautiful moment, we see neon nuns serenade the Earth with a haunting chorale which sends shivers down your spine. To top it all off, we then hear a recording of Greta Thunberg’s speech, like a ghost from a world that has now long gone.
Musical director, Sarah Bodalbhal, has come up with sci-fi symphony of a track list ranging from synthy 80s songs like ‘Flash’ by Queen to the futuristic beats of Muse in ‘Uprising’. But one of the best moment will be when you’re invited to sing-along to the Monty Python hit, ‘Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life’ which gives Ginger Johnson a chance to put her skills of audience captivation on full throttle.
Although there are some plot holes and loose ends, the messy storytelling can be forgiven for its very clear message; the message is so clear in fact that it is literally spelled out in bright lights: ‘HOME’. Remembering that Earth is our home, one that some us will never abandon our hope for, is perhaps one of the best Christmas messages for the end of this decade.
Escape From Planet Trash will be on at the Pleasance Theatre until the 22nd December 2019
Photo Credit: Ali Wright Photography and Rankin (feature photo)