reviewed by Paula Citron
Written by Joe Orton
Directed by Jim Warren
Starring Oliver Dennis, Nicole Underhay, Matthew Edison, Jonathan Watton, Michael Hanrahan and Derek Boyes
At the Young Centre until Aug. 1
The late British playwright Joe Orton wrote black comedy, and the eponymous word Ortonesque refers to works that use macabre absurdism to make social statements. Over 40 years later, it is clear that Orton was a visionary. His characters’ remarks about police brutality, bureaucratic corruption and religious hypocrisy earned rueful laughs from an audience familiar with today’s headlines.
This Soulpepper production of Orton’s Loot is blessed with a cast of classically trained actors who can cope with the slash and burn language, and a director, Jim Warren, who understands Orton’s carefully measured pacing. It’s not the speed, so much in Orton, as the rhythm.
Oliver Dennis is superb as the bewildered newly widowered McLeavy. Nicole Underhay as the murderous nurse Fay, Matthew Edison and Jonathan Watton as the amoral youths Hal and Dennis, and Michael Hanrahan as the slippery police detective Truscott breathe life into Orton’s outrageous dialogue and characters.
This production is definitely Ortonesque.
Loot continues at the Young Centre until Aug. 1.