From a conventional Surrey upbringing as Denis Pratt, to global notoriety via The Naked Civil Servant as Quentin Crisp, Mark Farrelly channels the spirit of Crisp to bring him magically to life, and shows the man as an extraordinary raconteur and wit in Naked Hope, writes Michael Holland…

Openly gay as early as the 1930s, Quentin spent decades being beaten up on London’s streets simply for his refusal to be anything less than himself. His steadfast courage, and the powerful philosophy that evolved from those experiences, continue to inspire to the present day.

This much-acclaimed solo play written by Mark Farrelly, shows Quentin both in his beloved Chelsea flat as the 1970s dawned and begins with his most famous quote regarding housework, which he never succumbed to:  ‘I have a message of  hope to offer the the housewives of England.  Don’t lose your nerve, because after the first four years the dirt won’t get any worse.’ Naked Hope then meanders through this incredible man’s life and climaxes in his final years in his adopted New York.

Farrelly works in the Crisp magic by using many of Quentin’s own words: ‘Fashion is what you adopt when you don’t know who you are… If at first you don’t succeed, failure may be your style… Never keep up with the Joneses. Drag them down to your level.’

In the audience we laughed and cried in equal measure.  Ultimately we grew to love Quentin Crisp even more when we remembered how brave he was for being himself and nothing else – something hardly anyone can do as we struggle to keep up appearances.  Naked Hope is a gloriously uplifting salute to a true one-off, and a timely reminder of the urgent necessity to live every day as your true self.
Naked Hope is on at Brockley Jack Studio Theatre, 410 Brockley Road, London, SE4 2DH until 16th June. Time: 7.30pm. Admission: £16.  Phone: 0333 666 3366