Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh, until Sat 15 July.
UnIIappabIe: Laurie Ventry as Truscott in Loot
Sandwiched between The Importance of Being Earnest and Private Lives, Joe Orton’s smutty black comedy Loot might seem an incongruous segment of the Lyceum’s summer comedy season. On closer inspection, however, Orton’s strategy is little different from Wilde’s or Coward’s — a deliberately ludicrous plot providing the platform for a string of outrageous witticisms.
Written in 1966, Loot carries dark echoes of Pinter’s early thug comedies; and Orton clearly has something to say about police corruption and the peculiarly British compliance which allows it to flourish — Inspector Truscott is the most accomplished rogue in the gallery, and in the final manoeuvre he walks away with the swag. But Orton’s primary goal is to seduce us with his promiscuous verbal humour.
To serve the play well, focus must be placed squarely on the dialogue, which Kenny Glenaan’s tricksy production too often fails to do. The entrances are made by springboard, presumably in an effort to inject
energy, a curtain is flown in and out as
if by magic, the Catholic iconography is overworked — most obviously in McLeavy‘s car-crash injuries, which are presented as stigmata - and the final lines are drowned out by an unexpected helping of Talking Heads. None of this is inherently damaging, but inevitably it detracts from the fast-thinking interplay of wit which is the play’s lifeblood.
There are commendable performances — notably from Laurie Ventry as the unflappable Truscott - and an attractive set by Robert Ballagh, but on the opening night the overburdened comic motor misfired at times. No doubt it will improve with a bit of running-in. (Andrew Burnet)
‘ numbers are colourful and rousing. Mcllugh and McLean in particular
SEXUAL PERVERSITY IN CHICAGO
Tron Theatre, Glasgow, until Sun 16 July; Gilded Balloon, Edinburgh, Fri 11-Sat 26 August.
Typical. You wait ages for a Mamet production and then loads come along at once. Sexual Perversity is nowhere near as challenging as 0leanna or Glengarry Glen Ross, but it’s more than a freewheeling comedy of sexual manners stuffed with tits ’n’ ass jokes. There are plenty of backhanded jibes as we follow the sexual
misadventures of twentysomethings Danny and Deborah and Bernard and Joan in the singles bars of the late
At one point the ridiculous Bernard
shrieks ‘what do you think this is - the
past?’ and the realisation dawns that clothing in the 905 may be more tasteful, but attitudes are not. We tlatter ourselves if we think we’ve progressed considerably. The bitter
nursery teacher Joan is a particularly i
shrewd and enduring creation, uncharitable about her flatmate’s
relationship and self-righteously smug
when things don’t work out. The hilarious but appallingly sexist
banter between the two men is sharply
observed and highly entertaining and the constant 60s and 705 soundtrack
(Aretha, Jacksons, ‘Shaft’) is bliss, but I despite the obvious amusement factor i
it is disappointing that the Arches Theatre Company, who can do this kind of thing in their sleep, have chosen to revive a play they've done before when they could be forging ahead into virgin territory (no pun intended). (Fiona Shepherd)
LA CAGE AUX FOLLES
King’s Theatre, Glasgow, until Sat 15 July. Edinburgh Playhouse, Mon 17~Sat 22 July. The easiest way to describe La Gage Aux Folles is as the Rocky Horror Picture Showfor the Danny La Rue generation. Granny comedy that plays suggestively on sexuality, big time. The Cage Aux Folles in question is a transvestite club on the French Riviera. Its star attraction is the magnificent la la, aka Albin (Stewart McLean), whose lover George (Michael McHugh) comperes the show. They have a son called Jean-Michel (the result of a one-night-stand George had in not-so-gay Paris), who announces his intention to marry the daughter of
down St Tropez’s transvestite showhouses.
As Albin and George wonder where they went wrong, the irony starts to
figure in Jean-Michel’s life, is Cue cross-dressing musical farce
scenario, as Albin attempts to keep the homo fires burning by posing as
I Jean-Michel’s mother. Okay, so the ; storyline isn’t actually that great, and
the lyrics are even worse, but the
show does throw up a few relevant
thoughts about gay love. The pace is never allowed to slip in David Shaw‘s version for Spectacular & Glossy Productions, and the chorus dance
revel in their powerful vocal roles. It's a pity, then, that this pro-am production is let down by some pretty poor production continuity. The accents range from crass pseudo-
the very politician who’s trying to shut ,
' weigh in. Albin, very much the mother
, requested to leave the house when the moralistic politician comes to visit.
American 3 la Happy Days to Cockney, .
Pythonesque Yorkshire and even some 3
French. Add to that large dollops of innuendo, some irritating cameos —
including a barking butler and a World
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of Leather whippogram — and it’s ’Allo 'Allo — the homo-erotic musical. A shame. (Philip Oorward)
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