What better place to see a play by the irreverent gay 1960s playwright, Joe Orton, than in Leicester?
Joe escaped from Leicester to London as soon as he was able, lured by bright lights and available sex, but I’m always glad to go back there thanks to the high quality theatre productions put on at Curve.
‘Entertaining Mr Sloane’ is a dark and twisted comedy, peopled by a selection of singularly unsympathetic characters with unsavoury motives. Young delinquent Mr Sloane arrives at the home shared by Kath and her father after she picks him up in the local library. Kath has a very thin veneer of respectability and in spite of paying unconvincing lip service to the morals of the day, is soon throwing herself at her handsome new lodger and trying to wrestle his trousers off and get him onto the living room floor. The situation is complicated by her brother, Ed, who has his own designs on Mr Sloane and their father who is suspicious of Sloane’s intentions.
There are some toe curling but funny scenes as the siblings scheme, plot and vie for the attention of Sloane whose naive appearances conceal a more sinister heart. Ed is determined to lure him to his own quarters and keen to get Mr Sloane in a leather chauffeur’s outfit whilst Kath is just keen to have Mr Sloane in a skimpy bath robe on the sofa. This truly is a twisted play, poking fun at the hypocrisy of 60s England, but it’s the meanness of the satire that makes it so amusing to watch.
The set is cunning, the staging is witty and the lurid opening video sequences deserve their own rounds of applause. Julia Hills (2.4 Children) portrays Kath with well judged comic timing and manages to make her more than just a figure of ridicule whilst relishing every line of dialogue. Alex Felton is a strutting and knowing Sloane who oozes faux innocence peppered with sex appeal and also looks remarkably good in tight briefs. Andrew Dunn (dinnerladies) is suitably sinister as the spiv brother, Ed.
This production is equal to anything you’d catch in the West End. Curve have managed to cement their already stellar reputation further with a compelling piece of 60s comedy which is proof that Orton’s works transcend the era they were written in. I’d recommend this very highly.