In Search of Cruise Control - A Journey Worth Taking


“In Search of Cruise Control” starts with James Gangl showing up and reading to us birthday cards his mother has sent him. The relationship with the audience continues as he acknowledges his tripping up in some of the script and the silliness of his staged actions to resemble a conversation. This breaking down of the wall between the audience and the play invites us into Gangl’s life. As the play progresses it feels like we could have been at a support group meeting and we are hearing the story of one man’s journey of understanding and acceptance. The title suggests Gangl is in search of control and peace, control of the past and its effect on his life.

Gangl takes us on a journey of his own sexual awakening through the guise of the dreaded sex talk with his adolescent nephew. In doing so Gangl must come to terms with his own early sexual exploits. Gangl is adept at mocking himself while still expressing the angst, shame and confusion that accompanies growing up.  

Gangl is a professional performer. His voice, movement and expressions are spot on. His years of improvisational work are evident in his ability to talk with the audience ad lib before returning to the script. Kudos to him for dealing with an audience member that left in the middle of the play. It was dealt with with such insight and humour that it could have been part of the play. By the end of the play with some laughs and acknowledging his demons Gangl is able to find his cruise control. The audience are better off for having heard the story. 

By MJ Ankenman