REVIEW: The Cancellation of Crispin Cox

Brian Butler July 28, 2021

It’s getting close to the half-hour call in a theatre somewhere. Seated at the dressing room mirror actor Crispin Cox talks to us on the brink of what could be his moment of glory in a leading role.

He’s been called in at the last minute to star in the new musical of Les Liaisons Dangereuses, where he plays all the parts. Twist Number 1 – he’s got the part for which he auditioned and indeed played in two workshops of the show, due to what he calls the “cancellation” of leading rival actor Giles Freedman.

Mr Freedman has been a bad boy – he’s guilty of cultural appropriation – having pretended for years to be Jewish, and indeed having been cast in Jewish roles.

Crispin says Freedman’s his very best friend, but this is an arrogant, probably not very good rival who exposes his jealousy, along with general bitchiness to his agent, the stage manager, the show’s designer – everyone except its producer and its author.

Twist Number 2 – Crispin is the one who “outed “ Freedman. He has only the briefest qualm about it all – turns out that he is a serial outer, having got rid of the show’s original large cast and even its leading lady so it came to be a one-man show. Trouble is he didn’t get the part.

And to avoid a massive spoiler all I’ll say is there are two more twists – even more devastating than the earlier ones.

Conley, who was marvellous playing Satan in the Sorrows of Satan, and Miss Fox, the possibly crooked clairvoyant in the Fabulist Fox Sister, is every inch the damaged egomaniac, and he nuances his performance from snide sarcasm and petty triumph  to awkward target, downright villain and destroyed personality. It’s a marvellous bravura performance – a killer of a characterisation. And hats off to videographer Luke Rayner – the show was recorded in one take !

The Cancellation Of Crispin Cox has its world premiere on 29 July and then it’s on demand 30 July to 29 August

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