Paul Capsis starts as Quentin Crisp in Resident Alien.
Paul Capsis starts as Quentin Crisp in Resident Alien. Sarah Walker

REVIEW: Capsis delivers as Crisp in Resident Alien

PAUL Capsis's love of Lismore was well rewarded last night by a standing ovation from the audience for his portrayal of Quentin Crisp in Resident Alien at NORPA.

Such was the five-time Helpmann Award-winner's performance that what could have been a dry demanding 90-minute monologue was, in fact, an incisive plea for understanding from a celebrity outsider on his own survival.

We, in the audience, became Capsis's playthings as he used the now iconic language of Crisp to pull the audience in.

His "look at me" gestures engaged us before we were royally dismissed with a flutter of his effete fingers.

If you haven't got a ticket for the play, which runs until Saturday, make sure you get to NORPA to see Tim Fountain's play about one of England's most controversial critics.

Crisp spent his later years in a filthy New York apartment, suffering from chronic eczema an anticipating the entreaties of strangers to take him to lunch to maintain his fame.

The play begins with Crisp under the covers of his soiled bed clothes and peaks and troughs as we become the voyeurs to his pre-performance ritual.

As we watch him dandy up and down out of his trademark costume we are made to gasp and laugh at his take on the world of celebrity and people in power.

Crisp's squalid surroundings provide deep irony when his philosophy becomes a highly charged soliloquy on how one's "style" is an arbiter of one's own truth.

The main take- away from the evening, however, is that to have an audience with Capsis, as a portrayer of almost anyone, is a privilege and not to be missed.