It has been said that when a play has a coffin on stage, it
cannot be a success. But “Loot” is a hoot! This 1960s play
written by the rebel, Joe Orton, is English comedy at its blackest. It pokes
fun at the world with piercing satire.
The dead body of an elderly woman with a missing false eye is thrown
around like a beanbag; her son, a criminal, who has just robbed a bank, makes
fun of Catholics, Protestants and everything else; a young, pretty nurse, who
has been married and widowed 7 times, causes mayhem; a detective pretending to
be on a water board spouts morals while taking a bribe. What a crew! “Downton Abbey” it isn't!
Directed by Associate Artistic Director David Kennedy, whose
work I so much enjoy, “Loot” is
a rompwith literary and religious overtones. It is set in one complex
room that serves as living and bedroom well-designed by Andrew Boyce and lit by
Matthew Richards. Kudos to the props master Carianne Hoff. Costumes are by Emily Rebholz. Timing is everything and the cast seemed to
have it down perfectly, particularly in the second act. And their London
accents, coached by Deborah Hecht, are splendid. John Horton as the grieving widower, McLeavy,
is a natural; McLeavy is shocked by the nurse, Fay, played by blond, Liv Rooth.
First she proposes marriage, when his wife has not yet been buried. Then, she
admits that his wife has changed her will and left everything to her. She even
goes so far as to wear the dead woman's black dress!
Meanwhile, McLeavy's son, Harold (Hal), a part attractive
Devin Norik plays with a hint of danger, has conspired to rob the bank with his
“luxurious” friend, Dennis, a competent Zach Wegner; they hide the stolen bills
in the coffin. Poor dead mum—where is she to go? Well everywhere. Wrapped in white muslin, she is moved from
the armoire to the bed to the coffin to the unseen hearse and back, as nurse
Fay tells the nosey Truscott that it is her dressmaking dummy. David Manis is excellently annoying and
funny as the Scotland Yard sleuth.
Harold (Hal) is cut from the playwright's cloth; for Joe
Orton was jailed with his best friend, Kenneth Halliwell for 6 months for
defacing books, and was subsequently killed horrifically by him in 1967 at the
age of 34.
play at the Westport Country Playhouse through Aug 3.