Saturday, February 01, 2014

An Introduction to Joe Orton

Before Loot, I had never seen a play by Joe Orton, so I am grateful to Red Bull Theater for making the introduction. Orton, considered heir to Oscar Wilde, was arrested and imprisoned for stealing and defacing library books in 1962, though he suspected it was actually for his homosexuaity. In 1967, Orton was killed by his partner Kenneth Halliwell, who then committed suicide. Loot, now playing at the Lucille Lortel Theater through February 9, shows what a gifted satirist he was.
Photo credit: Rahav Segev
The play takes place in 1965. McLeavy (Jarlath Conroy) is mourning his wife. His son Hal (Nick Westrate) and partner-in-crime Dennis (Ryan Garbayo) need a place to hide money they stole from a bank, so they stash it in Hal's mother's coffin. Meanwhile dimwitted Truscott (Rocco Sisto) comes from Scotland Yard to investigate and the nurse Fay (Rebecca Brooksher) is trying to secure McLeavy as her next husband. Directed by Jesse Berger, this production lacks energy. Orton's epigrams are still hilarious and the cast delivers them well, but the zany chaos that should be present in farce is too often missing from this production.

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