STAGE STAR: Paul Capsis in Resident Alien.
STAGE STAR: Paul Capsis in Resident Alien. Sarah Walker

Paul Capsis as Quentin Crisp in a tale of queer grandeur

FROM his early years as an androgynous nude model in 1930s London, to finding fame as the first to speak so openly about life as a gay man, there was no one quite like Quentin Crisp.

In Tim Fountain's Resident Alien, the legendary author of The Naked Civil Servant opens the door to his famously filthy New York apartment for an unforgettable heart to heart about life as only he knows it.

Oprah Winfrey, Princess Diana, sex - no topic is off-limits as Quentin explains, in his inimitable way, how to be happy.

He may have been born Denis Charles Pratt on Christmas Day, December 25, 1908 in Surrey, England, but to the world he will always be Quentin Crisp.

Quentin Crisp (December 25, 1908 - November 21, 1999) was an English writer, raconteur and actor.

From a conventional suburban background, Crisp enjoyed wearing make-up and painting his nails, and worked as a rent-boy in his teens.

He then spent 30 years as a professional model for life classes in various art colleges.

The interviews he gave about his unusual life attracted increasing public curiosity and he was soon sought after for his highly individual views on social manners and the cultivating of style.

Crisp attempted to join the British army at the outbreak of the Second World War, but was rejected and declared exempt by the medical board on the grounds that he was "suffering from sexual perversion”.

He remained in London during the 1941 Blitz, stocked up on cosmetics, purchased five pounds of henna and paraded through the blackout "picking up GIs, whose kindness and open-mindedness inspired my love of all things American,” he said during his show.

His one-man stage show The Naked Civil Servant was a long-running hit both in Britain and America and he also appeared in films and on TV.

Crisp defied convention by criticising both gay liberation and Diana, Princess of Wales.

He died in Manchester in 1999 of a heart attack, a month before his 91st birthday.

Starring five time Helpmann Award winner Paul Capsis as Crisp, and directed by Green Room Award winner Gary Abrahams, Resident Alien shares Quentin's unforgettable philosophies.

  • At Lismore City Hall's auditorium from May 23-26, 7.30pm. Details at norpa.org.au.

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