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Stage Whispers review of Resident Alien

Patricia Di Risio
Stage Whispers
27 May 2016

Paul Capsis as the legendary and iconic Quentin Crisp is nothing short of brilliant. His magnificent performance is equally matched by the direction and the staging of Fountain’s sharp and opulent script. Crisp’s acerbic and wry humour, as well as his uncompromising controversial opinions, are sumptuously recreated in this play.

Set in the New York apartment where Crisp lived in the latter part of his life, holding court in a small and notoriously unkempt loft, the play is a penetrative journey into his psyche. As a cultural figure Crisp is replete with contradictions; simultaneously flamboyant and bitter. He embraced difference with unadulterated brashness while enormously intolerant of hypocrisy and identity politics.

Capsis is mesmerising but his performance is not simply reverential. His ability to capture both the alluring and the loathsome qualities that made Crisp so famous is an exquisite and finely tuned study of the persona. There is no movement or gesture which does not scrutinise and explore his larger than life existence.

The production is equally dramatic and fully captures the contradictions of Crisp’s mode of being. The inhospitable space is rendered warm and intriguing with an astute and delightful attention to detail. The lighting and costuming resist representing Crisp as spectral and allow all the beauty and the blemishes of the character to emanate from the stage. This is an exceptional piece of theatre, definitely not to be missed.

 

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