I had my own introduction to Ginger Johnson and Sink the Pink a year ago when I chaired a Q&A for How to Catch a Krampus, the first in a new queer trilogy at the Pleasance Theatre, which also marked the drag collective’s first-ever theatrical residency after a decade of mega club nights, festivals and glitter-doused parties.
A year on, during which Sink the Pink have collaborated and released a single with Melanie C, the company’s international renown has continued its stratospheric rise. And now they’re back with their second alternative Christmas show at the Pleasance, written, directed and designed by and starring the inimitable Ginger Johnson, rejoined by the same team of queer artists – now very much a family.
In Escape From Planet Trash, it’s 2050 and in a galaxy not far from our own, Planet Trash is the most dangerous place in the solar system, the dumping ground for the universe. Two intrepid space explorers crash-land amongst the waste, where they find Ginger Johnson and her son, the last remaining people of the doomed planet. As the countdown to Christmas approaches, a new threat is stirring. Can our team of intergalactic heroes band together to survive? Will they escape in time for Christmas?
Escape From Planet Trash features drag queens, giant turkeys, pantomime interaction and a live musical score – including a joyous singalong of Monty Python’s “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” (I forgot to say a big thank you to Sink the Pink for this moment – so needed in dark times!).
For last night’s post-show discussion, I was joined by Ginger Johnson and fellow cast members Maxi More, Mahatma Khandi, Mairi Johnson, David Cumming and Lavinia Co-op, as well as musical director Sarah Bodalbhai. Amongst the big questions answered – with much audience whooping (any Lindas out there?):
- What did Sink the Pink learn from their first season at the Pleasance?
- Is the competitive nature of RuPaul’s Drag Race helpful to the art of drag?
- How do you characterise a piece of shit?
- Why is Lavinia Co-op a drag legend?
- What’s so troubling about science fiction politics?
- What does Planet Trash owe to Grease II? (Don’t know what we’re talking about with this song from the panned 1982 film sequel starring Michelle Pfeiffer and Maxwell Caulfield. The proof is here.)
- Is there ever going to be a Sink the Pink version of A Christmas Carol or Aladdin?
- Why is it so important in 2019 for queer artists to be writing shows for themselves?
- Will dogs feature in the next instalment of the trilogy?
Event photography by Peter Jones.
Production photography by Ali Wright.