Quentin Crisp-Naked Hope

To anyone familiar with Quentin Crisp this play will act as a refresher course and to anyone who is encountering him for the first time it will be refreshing. Based mainly on Crisp’s two semi autobiographies’ The Naked Civil Servant’ and ‘How To Become A Virgin’ in which John Hurt turned in quintessential performances of Crisp for the television adaptations-although arguably Crisp himself gave the ultimate performance but he had the advantage of performing the role since birth- it is against such benchmarks that Mark Farrely is up against and thankfully he actually manages to succeed, under the stark direction of Linda Marlowe.
The observations and witty ironies that Crisp was renowned for are all present, as are the loaded with significance and poignant with meaning delivery of his camped up voice and mannerisms. Split into two halves wherein he recollects his childhood in Surrey and wartime years in London the play then shifts to his twilight years in New York where he moved when he was seventy and became a celebrity and ‘senile delinquent’ on the television and radio circuit.
By this time he realised himself that he was becoming a parody of his former self and compares himself to Madonna who he claims also becomes more predictable the more she tries to shock.
Farrely gives a thoroughly convincing role as England’s stately homo capturing some of the isolation and insularity that lay at the heart of his character. Towards the end the heavy make up and coiffed hair start to resemble a parody of the Joker but this merely reflects the real life Crisp who became more and more of a grotesque towards the end of his life. An entertaining production which due to its subject matter never fails to deliver on witticisms but everything here conspires to make this a success.
Quentin Crisp- No Hope is on at the Gilded Balloon daily until August 25th at 3pm.

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