The Cancellation of Crispin Cox ☆☆☆☆☆ https://www.crispincox.com/
Queerguru may have been latecomers to the Michael Conley fan club . ….. we just discovered his comic brilliance earlier this year with The Fabulous Fox Sister ….. but after seeing The Cancellation of Crispin Cox, we are now full-paid up members. Conley has written and starred in this one-man-play/monologue which is a gloriously funny diatribe by a second-rate outrageously gay actor about the joys of being as bitter as hell with a world that refuses to recognize his genius.
Set in a small shabby theater dressing room it is just before the curtain rises for the press night of ‘Les Liaisons Dangereuses: The Musical’. As the plot unfolds we discover that Crispin Cox (Conley) is considered the hero of the hour as he has agreed to step in to play the star (and only) role at the very last minute. It turns out the original lead Giles Freedman had been ‘canceled’ after he had suddenly been “exposed’ in the media about an unfortunate incident in his past.
We will eventually find out how and why from Cox whose heavy-handed hints will not allow him to disguise the long-held jealously he has always had of Freedman (‘my very best friend” ). He is the actor who always gets the roles that Cox believes were rightfully his.
Cox’s acerbic bitterness is gloriously funny and is based on a whole history of back-stage rivalry but the fact this is ‘cancel culture comedy’ makes it very new and fresh. This social practice of people being fired and/or dropped is a relatively new phenomenon and Conley really exploits it beautifully.
As Cox sits at his mirror applying his make-up and is talking out loud to us, his phone rings off the hook as and gradually his moment in the limelight starts to look very precarious. There are calls from ‘crappy Agent Amanda’ who has never got him any work in the past 20 years, or the ‘Idiot SM’ who he also treats with disdain. On the other hand, he is still smart enough to grovel at Malcolm the producer, but when the shit finally hits the fan, even that will not save him.
No plot spoilers here and you’ll have to wait to discover if Cox finally gets what he thinks he deserves and if the title of the play does say it all. The joy is in Conley’s delivery and the multitude of expressions he makes with his almost rubber-like face. His hilarious performance is totally mesmerizing. Even if his behavior is deemed socially unacceptable, we simply can’t help but be in his corner every inch of the way.
Maybe if we are honest with ourselves if we were Crispin Cox we would have taken the same path but probably have done so without the same wit and charm.
Streaming from crispincox.com
World Premiere on Thursday 29th July at 8pm GMT
then available on-demand from
30th July – 29th August
Music by Luke Bateman
Videography by Luke Rayner
Sound by Richard Rayner
Produced by Alfred Taylor-Gaunt
and Aisling Tara
Labels: 2021, London, Michael Conley, review, The Cancellation of Crispin Cox