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Bourne Revives Quentin Crisp for Anniversary Alien

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Bette Bourne (pictured) will reprise his award-winning portrayal of the late Quentin Crisp in Resident Alien in a limited ten-week season, from 3 February to 5 April 2008 (previews from 28 January) at north London’s New End Theatre. The new run marks the tenth anniversary of Tim Fountain’s play, which the author also directs, and the 100th anniversary of Crisp’s birth.

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. It had another London run in 2001, followed by an international tour.

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\".

After his breakthrough with Resident Alien, Tim Fountain’s subsequent playwriting credits have included Julie Burchill Is Away, Hotboi, his autobiographical – and controversially interactive - Sex Addict and, most recently, Rock about Rock Hudson and his agent.

Hotboi and Rock also starred Bette Bourne, whose other stage credits have included The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Vortex, The Skin of Our Teeth, Theatre of Blood, The Importance of Being Earnest (in which he played Lady Bracknell) and Romeo and Juliet (in which he played the Nurse).

- by Terri Paddock


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