This fascinating one-man show examines the brutality of cancel culture in the entertainment industry has great relevancy at the moment.
Written and performed by Michael Conley, this sharply insightful 50-minute piece effectively explores just what it takes to get to the top – and how precarious being at the top can be.
Crispin Cox is about to go on stage for a performance of a one-person performance of a musical adaptation of Les Liaisons Dangereuses – but over the course of the piece it is revealed how he came to take on the leading role through the use of dubious means of exposing other people’s secrets.
While the character’s ambition and methods to get to the top are awful, what Conley has cleverly done with The Cancellation of Crispin Cox is reveal a person who has had to resort to these desperate measures to get noticed. There is a sadness, loneliness with just a hint of ruthlessness about Crispin that keeps the audience compelled to understand why he does these things to his ‘very best friend’. Yes, Crispin is a character who is ambitious but he is also a character who is tired of being second best and unable to progress his career – but as the surprising twist at the end reveals – anyone can rise or fall at anytime.
It is a really raw and honest piece of writing and anyone who has worked in the entertainment industry at all can recognise elements of truth in it.
Through his performance Conley makes for a fascinating narrator, ensuring that the balance of confiding in the audience while highlighting the character’s defensiveness over his actions is just right as each revelation is made. It is a sharp performance that gets the audience asking themselves – how far would you go to get what you want in life?
The monologue is nicely interspersed with cameo vocal performances from Stage Manager Kelly (voice of Aisling Tara), Alfred-Taylor Gaunt (voice of “You Suck Guy”) and Freedman (Luke Bateman) to add a nice variety – even if we don’t see them it gives the audience more understanding of how Crispin treats those around him depending on their importance.
It is a smart and sharp fifty minutes that offers great insight as to what can happen away from the spotlight, brought entertainingly to life by all involved.
By Emma Clarendon
The Cancellation of Crispin Cox will have its world premiere on the 29th July at 8pm via: https://www.crispincox.com/.It will then be available on demand from the 30th July until the 29th August.