Much has been written about Joe Orton and more will surely follow as new generations discover his work and this new production of Loot, directed with real flair and understanding of the material by Michael Fentiman will enable this to happen. As soon as the house lights dimmed and a large and dominant cross started to glow from the back wall of the set and a coffin is revealed to be containing a body the audience knew this was going to be a magical theatrical experience. Orton is out to shock and with the deleted scenes once censored by the Lord Chancellor back in the audible gasps of excitement and joy as the played was performed were loud and showed a fantastic appreciation of this ground breaking play. Orton continues be to be controversial even now in 2017 and its to this fabulous ensemble cast credit that the wicked and very dark humour is understood and actually the skill that Orton shows as playwright respected. His comments on society at the time 1960’s England are both profound and poetic dealing with sadism, lust, greed, love with a hint of necrophilia thrown into the mix, This is a superb farce where timing is crucial and this cast pull it off. Christopher Fulford as the sadistic Truscott has certainly made the role his own moving around the stage with agility of a cat ready to pounce and capture his prey. Sinead Matthews as Nurse Fay is delicious to watch, her timing is exceptional. Ian Redford as Mcleavy the long suffering husband of the deceased is brilliant showing a range to the delivery of Ortons words that is exquisite. Anah Ruddin as Mrs McLeavy is a wonder to watch and her role in this is a masterclass in acting. It’s to Sam Frenchum as Hal and Calvin Demba as Dennis that praise must be stowed upon. These two young actors are extraordinary and play their respective roles with an energy that is both breathtaking and mesmerising, stunning and beautiful, stars in the making.If Mr Orton is looking does from Heaven or let’s face looking up he will without a doubt have a mischievous grin on his face because this is a job well done. A phenomenal piece of theatre that had the audience shouting bravo ! after bravo!. and rightly so.
5 stars, play to the 24th September. Park Theatre Box office 020 7870 6876 parktheatre.co.uk
Photos by Darren Bell