Joe Orton’s Loot opens to mixed reviews at the Park Theatre.
Censored by the Lord Chamberlain in 1964, Orton’s uproarious farce of death and ill-gotten gain is staged for the first time as it was written and intended to be performed.
In a year which celebrates the 50th anniversary of Joe Orton’s death, and the decriminalisation of homosexuality in Britain, and Joe Orton’s death, the key question is ‘Does Orton’s play, one that scandalised 1960s Britain, hold up in 2017?’
According to Michael Billington, The Guardian, it’s ‘now even funnier and filthier’ and the restoration of the cuts required by the censor ‘not only sharpens an already subversive text but yields a first-rate production by Michael Fentiman’.
Andrezej Lukowski, TimeOut thought Orton’s ‘frenziedly farcical attacks on everything from respect for the dead to the respectability of the police no longer feels revolutionary’ but that ‘it does feel like a solid comedy’.
Fiona Mountford, Evening Standard, thinks ‘time has been unkind to Joe Orton’s plays’ and the changing taste in theatre and comedy makes Loot seem ‘rather sad and unsavoury’.
The stand-out performances include Sinead Matthews as seven-times married nurse Fay, Christopher Fulford as the menacing inspector Truscott and Anah Ruddin who gamely spends the entire show playing a corpse.
Read our round-up of reviews below.
Loot runs until 24 September 2017 at the Park Theatre.
Average rating score for this production:
'Joe Orton's savage farce now even funnier and filthier'
'From the necrophilia to the suggestion Christ was framed, the playwright’s most dangerous work – performed without the censor’s cuts for the first time – shows Orton wasn’t just out to shock'Michael Billington, The Guardian
'Orton’s frenziedly farcical attacks on everything from respect for the dead to the respectability of the police don’t feel especially transgressive now. But they certainly don’t feel timid, and while the first half of ‘Loot’ feels creaky, there are some legitimately big laughs in the second.' Andrezej Lukowski, TimeOut
'Michael Fentiman’s tonally uncertain production cannot sustain the giddy, spinning heights of absurdity and incredulity that this piece will always require in order to survive and thrive.' Fiona Mounthead, Evening Standard
'Joe Orton’s subversive comedy proves breathlessly funny.' 'Today’s theatregoers may be slower to take offence at secret gay relationships or mockery of authority figures but, even with the cut material restored for the first time, the sight of a corpse undressed and hoicked about is more likely to shock.' Dave Hollander, The Stage
Date: 29 August 2017
Written by: Luke Dillon
Tags: Loot, Park Theatre, review round-up