Bette Bourne will reprise his award-winning portrayal of the late Quentin Crisp (pictured) in Resident Alien. Written and directed by Tim Fountain, the play opens at London's Drill Hall for a limited run from 5 December 2001 to 12 January 2002. The production will then tour to another 16 UK cities until the end of March 2002, taking a month out from mid-February for an Australian visit to Melbourne and the Sydney Mardi Gras celebrations.

Resident Alien, which is based largely on Crisp's personal diaries, is set in his legendarily filthy one-roomed New York apartment. While waiting for the arrival of yet more visitors, Crisp reflects on the century he's lived through, with witty musings on everything from Princess Diana to Oprah Winfrey and oral sex.

The play was originally seen in 1999 at London's Bush Theatre, where Fountain acted as literary manager for four years. During that original run, Quentin Crisp died suddenly while visiting a friend in Manchester. Bette Bourne, who was a close friend of Crisp's, had been due to meet him that week for tea. Nevertheless, the show, which had been created with Crisp's blessing, went on - touring the UK and then transferring to Off-Broadway where Bourne on an Obie Award for Best Actor.

Born Denis Pratt in suburban Sutton in 1908, Quentin Crisp rejected his conventional roots to become a metropolitan eccentric and gay icon. Decades before anyone was glad to be gay, Crisp flaunted his homosexuality, appearing on the streets of the West End with make-up, dyed hair and exotic dress - behaviour which frequently earned him verbal and physical abuse. In 1968, he published his autobiography, The Naked Civil Servant, later made into a film starring John Hurt. In 1981, he moved to New York City where he lived for the rest of his life, writing and cultivating his reputation as the original English "stately homo".

Tim Fountain's book, Quentin Crisp, will soon be published by Absolute Press. His other playwriting credits include Last Bus to Bradford. He is currently working on a play about outspoken British journalist Julie Burchill.

Following its run at the Drill Hall, Resident Alien will call at Cambridge, Northampton, Nottingham, Maidstone, Colchester, Coventry, Salford, Kirkaldy, Glasgow, Milford Haven, Swansea, Cardiff, Harrow, Southampton, Brighton and the Isle of Wight.

- by Terri Paddock