Space travel’s a drag: Escape From Planet Trash @ThePleasance

The Pleasance Theatre is transformed into a dump with Sink The Pink’s Escape From Planet Trash. A high-concept, camp yet environmentally friendly take on the traditional pantomime. It’s environmentally friendly as jokes were either recycled or used sparingly. But it’s hard not to like a show that puts drag queens in space in search of trash.

Set a few decades into the future, a queer space exploration team go in search of some discarded materials on Planet Trash that they believe will help their mission. At least I think that’s what was the point. The plot wasn’t always easy to follow due to poor sound quality.

But while on Plant Trash they stumble upon Ginger Johnson and her son (Davina Cumming), the last remaining humans on the doomed planet. And the doomed world turns out to be the former planet Earth which is now floating about in an interplanetary graveyard. Meanwhile, there is some sort of evil force lurking around as it turns out the Christmas is coming.

While there were some genuinely funny moments, for a comic pantomime it felt a bit of a downer. There were long stretches with few laughs and few pantomime conventions. Perhaps the attempt at an environmental message was misplaced. The choice of music seemed tired since it was mostly from the last century. Things get a lot better in the second half, but it really underscores the piece is overlong and under-developed.

Strangely enough, the audience seemed far more familiar with the catchphrases of some of the performers. And the elaborate (albeit creaky) sets were inspired. But if you are unfamiliar with the output of the performers, it’s more of a bewildering Christmas pantomime experience rather than an alternative one.

Directed by Ginger Johnson with musical direction by Sarah Bodalbhai, Escape From Planet Trash is at The Pleasance until 22 December.


Photos by Ali Wright

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