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Resident Alien by Tim Fountain
Based on the life, writings, and musings of Quentin Crisp
Review by Doric Wilson
January 9, 2001

Bette Bourne is more convincing as Quentin Crisp than Quentin was himself. With a wicked smile and wispy gray pompadour asunder, Bourne emerges from under a bed sheet and an orgy of Oprah viewing to arch a deadly eyebrow at a wide range of targets from middle-class mediocrity to gay political correctness. Patiently (and with limited expectations) he instruct us on how to develop of style, provocatively (and with eyes snapping) he canonizes Margaret Thatcher while slicing Princess Di and Oscar Wilde for very thin salami. And when finally he settles down to a water glass full-to-the-brim with whisky, Bluelips diva Bourne has brilliantly brought the late and legendary grand dame of the East Village vividly back to life, and the audience to their feet in joyous appreciation.

Resident Alien playwright Tim Fountain seamlessly fused his own creative input with the actual Quentin, making it impossible to tell which is which. In the future, people may think they are quoting Quentin Crisp when in fact they owe their borrowed wit to Fountain.

Behind a barricade of unread books, set designer Neil Patel has created a dingy apartment so convincing “undusted” even I was itching to reach for the Fantastic (not to mention Raid). Mike Bradwell directed this production which ran for over a year at London's Bush Theater. The one-man show was in rehearsal when Quentin died.

Resident Alien by Tim Fountain
Cast: Bette Bourne; direction: Mike Bradwell; design: Neil Patel.
Currently in previews, opening January 18, 2001 for a limited run through the end of February.
New York Theatre Workshop, 79 East Fourth St., New York, NY; 212-460-5475.

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