By Beatrice Wayne
For those who like their comedy so dark it is decomposing, the production of Loot at Soulpepper is an excellent production to see. A farce with hilarious yet sharp social satire, Soulpepper’s production is most successful when it completely embraces the gleeful ghoulishness of Joe Orton’s script.
The plot surrounds accomplices and occasional lovers Dennis (Jonathan Watton) and Hal (Matthew Edison), as they desperately try to hide the spoils of their recent bank robbery from the prying eyes of the determined and unscrupulous Police Inspector Truscott (Michael Hanrahan). The situation is grave; literally– Dennis and Hal, with the help of Nurse Fay (Nicole Underhay), find that a coffin is the best hiding place for their stash.
The first act begins slowly, and I found that Nicole Underhay, Matthew Edison and Jonathan Watton took a while to establish their characters and their chemistry with each other. However, the moment that Truscott (Hanrahan) comes onto the scene, the production seemed to gel with the outrageous absurdity of Orton’s script.
Although definitely not a comedy for those with delicate sensibilities, there is real hilarity in the way Orton mercilessly sacrifices every sacred cow he finds; neither the Catholic Church, the notion of police integrity, nor the sanctity of death and dead bodies escapes Orton’s dark satire. It is a real credit to Loot’s audacity and timelessness that this play– written over forty years ago–can still shock audiences. For a funereal fun time, go check out Loot.