Loot

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Joe Orton edited by Andrew Mayne

DOI: 10.5040/9781408168158.00000032
Acts: 2. Roles: Male (5) , Female (1) , Neutral (0)

A black farce masterpiece, Loot follows the fortunes and misfortunes of two young amateur thieves, Hal and Dennis. Dennis is a hearse driver for an undertaker. They have robbed the bank next door to the funeral parlour and have returned to Hal's home to hide-out with the loot. Hal's mother has just died and the pair conceal the money in her coffin, hiding the body in a cupboard. Unluckily the body is discovered by the predatory Fay, who had been nursing Hal’s mother and has now very quickly engaged herself to marry his father. With the arrival of Inspector Truscott, who insists on posing as a man from the Water Board, the thickened plot turns topsy-turvy. Playing with all the conventions of popular farce, Orton creates a world gone mad and examines in detail English attitudes at mid-century.

Loot was first staged in 1965 at Cambridge, and though the first production was not a success, the play soon received acclaim as a masterwork of dark farce and morbid comedy.