Following last year’s highly acclaimed How to Catch a Krampus, the entire team come back to Pleasance for another bawdy Christmas season. Ginger Johnson and Sink the Pink present a brand-new production for 2019, Escape From Planet Trash, combining drag, sci fi and queer comedy in their very unique interpretation of Pantomime.
But don’t go expecting a Cinderella or even a Dick Whittington type story, Ginger Johnson’s script is so wacky it’s almost impossible to describe to anyone who hasn’t actually witnessed it. In essence the year is 2050, and Planet Earth is now so covered in garbage it’s gone to a whole new part of the galaxy to die.
Some galactic explorers are all set to rescue Ginger and Sonny, but they don’t seem that keen to leave the little garbage pile they call home. A gang of giant turkeys (stay with me here) realise there are some humans on the planet and plan a revenge Christmas feast, and when Private Parts, and then Ginger are kidnapped by the turkeys, the remaining group must set out to rescue them. There’s also a lifesize shit, and a giant arsehole…I’m not altogether sure why.
So, yes, it is extreme silliness with a few songs thrown in. Big drag names like Lavinia Coop and Mahatma Khandi take to the stage supporting Ginger Johnson’s wacky adventure, but not even they can distract us from the undercooked plot. As you would expect from such a show, there’s naughtiness at every turn but it’s not particularly clever, and often far too obvious.
Ginger Johnson is an engaging performer, but the rest of the cast seemed to be struggling, stuttered pauses as they reached for the next line were all too common. The one exception was from David Cumming as Sonny, who was not only confident in the role but made Sonny feel like the only fully formed character on the stage.
Sound issues on the press night made it even more difficult to engage with the piece, but the biggest issue was that this camp Christmas show didn’t feel particularly upbeat, going to see Escape From Planet Trash is a bit like going to a party and sitting in the corner on your own. Even a family friendly Cinderella gets you on your feet dancing at some point.
Escape From Planet Trash is the kind of show that I would usually revel in, but I felt a little short changed here. All of that said, the team have a big following and despite all of the flaws and roughness around the edges, these faithful fans were clearing enjoying themselves. Howls of laughter could be heard as favourite characters or lines returned, and whoops and cheers were not in short supply.