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Wasteman- review


In a stunning neon yellow dress, Joe Leather steps on stage to take on a sold out audience at the VAULT Festival. Destined for a bigger stage, his presence automatically dictates the knowledge that he is a born performer. Beneath the flamboyant wigs and layers of makeup mastery comes a touching tribute to those in Joe's life who have been part of his journey from bin man to drag queen.

Starting with an original composition to grab the attention of those watching, Joe flaunts those vocals, before beginning to tell his story. While having had a toxic boyfriend and looking to escape into the world of drag, seemingly falling into the role of refuse collection (resulting in accusations of being straight, no less), and swapping leotards for high vis jackets is not exactly the expected path. Building that true identity didn't come easy- undeniably resonating with many- as trying on dresses for a laugh with a mate doesn't match the reality of being a working class Northerner, and trying to afford the glamour to become the next 'Miss Stoke'. However, the determination of figuring out exactly what was the right overpowered this in the end, despite some interesting encounters on the modern dating scene, and difficult reactions from some nasty members of the public. The truthfulness that comes from discussing these real life scenarios sheds light on issues such as homophobia thoughtfully, while remaining engaging and surrounded by some ridiculously funny and uplifting writing.

Successfully playing an array of different characters, Joe conveys each with expression, and manages to use this effectively. With his comedic tone and timing generating plenty of laughs throughout, it is clear that his personality shines, and it is possible to turn (often literal) trash into treasure. There is something special about Joe's delivery though, where the meaning behind the craft is deeper, perhaps being an autobiographical show. The audience follow in the palm of his hand as he recounts feeling everything from euphoria to devastation in past events.

This is certainly just the start for Joe- it wouldn't be at all surprising to see him making a strong impression on the theatre industry. His larger than life character will go far, and the narrative from Wasteman is one that already has a streak of great success.


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