Camden Fringe review: Wasteman

Joe Leather’s new play, Wasteman, comes to the Camden Fringe at the Etcetera Theatre, as a binman swaps boots for stilettos and a dream of becoming a drag queen.

He’s a droll Northerner whose story starts in a dream of stage supremacy and shifts between work, home, and childhood.

This is a well-plotted, very funny and unsentimental play in which our hero goes from stacking up the wheelie bins to entering a Miss Stoke contest.

With a cast of characters numbering more than ten and just one performer the flow could be lost but the moments of conversation and action are done in a warm and welcoming style, with Leather a performer who exudes confidence and belief in his material.

Promotional image for Wasteman

Sonetines very risque, and often inappropriate, Leather’s binman turned queer icon is a delight to watch throughout Wastenan.

Whether conjuring up the righteous kitchen activities of “my landlord, who I f**k”, the incomprehensible speech of the bin wagon driver, the grooves of dry make-up on the middle-aged homophobe woman, or the “hungry look” of the workplace therapist, each is captured in a vivid portrait.

Meanwhile, Leather displays his triple threat talent, from the opening song through to dramatic flair and a physical surprise just before the lights go off at the end.

Lighting and music are utilised well, while a make-up mirror, a shoebox, and a wheelie bin come into play to keep the plot moving. Time and locations may change, but we are always invested in where the story is going.

Wasteman has one more performance at the Etcetera Theatre in the Camden Fringe on 28 August at 9.30pm: book tickets here.