"Good production of Orton's comedy"
by Matthew Partridge for remotegoat on 11/05/19

Loot is a celebrated, if controversial, dark comedy, written by playwright Joe Orton., who had a spectacular, if short lived, career during the 1960s. McLeavy’s (Stevie Hughes) wife has died and she is ready to be buried. However, even before the coffin is in the ground, her former nurse Fay (Amy Williamson) is trying to manipulate the widower into marrying her. Meanwhile his son Hal (Chris Nelson) has just carried out a bank robbery with the help of undertaker’s assistant Dennis (Luke McGuire). With the police, in the form of corrupt Inspector Truscott (Paul Ackroyd), sniffing around, Hal and Dennis decide to hide the loot in the one place that the police won’t think to look for it.

Despite the fact that the play debuted in 1965, when theatre censorship was still in operation, the play is bawdy and dark. Both religion and police brutality come in for some sharp criticism, and in some cases Orton crosses the line into crudity. However, this is balanced by Orton’s almost Wildean turn of phrase and a sharp vein of absurdist humour. Director Stevie Hughes, along with set designer Jan Greenhough, do a lot to recreate the seediness and corruption of 1960s Britain.

Perhaps the only major problem is that the cast seem a little nervous, especially in the opening half hour, reading out their lines a bit too quickly. While part of this may have been a deliberate choice, in does means that some of the feeling is lost. Still, all in all, this is a very solid production, and one that was enjoyed by the audience at the Bromley Little Theatre.

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