Loot

by Joe Orton

Directed by Dom Ward

Tuesday 16th - Saturday 20th October, 2012

The Tower Theatre performing Upstairs at the Gatehouse, Highgate




Photography by David Sprecher


From a review in Musu.tv by Greg Jameson :

"In the grotesque character of Fay, Orton bombards his audience with the manifold absurdities and hypocrisies of hard line Catholicism, and Jean Collins succeeds in keeping Fay believable by keeping her eye firmly on the religious mania whilst resisting the allure of pantomime villainy. Equally successful is John Chapman's older widower. With a camp, large, but often affecting performance, he encapsulates the repressed homoeroticism of Catholicism. It could be argued that McLeavy is a kinder portrayal of your pious Catholic, but his ready capitulation to arbitrary authority renders him an ultimately pathetic figure, and it's only the humanity of Chapman's performance that retains a smattering of our sympathy here.

If Orton gives both barrels to old school Catholicism his younger characters are conceived as no less amoral. Hal is fascinatingly emotionless, not in the least moved by his mother's death and concerned only with saving his own neck. Paul Isaacs offers a satisfyingly charismatic interpretation of the part, imbuing Hal with a fey and icy charm with enjoyably busy eye work that recalls Norman Bates. Contrasting nicely is Dan Usztan's warmer, more effusive and less refined undertaker's apprentice Dennis. Between the two of them, Isaacs and Usztan find and offer plenty of manly flirting, bringing out a less-than-buried homosexual subtext (Hal calls his friend 'Baby'). Perhaps this could have been taken even further?

Whilst the four main characters are all great parts, Loot really springs to life when Inspector Truscott is introduced. Masquerading as an employee of the Water Board, Truscott prowls around the house looking to catch out the young criminals and maybe solve a murder case at the same time ... Here Julian Farrance wraps his tongue around the quick fire lines, and slick direction ensures that the tension and pace are cranked up and the laughs proportionately increase in frequency once Truscott has been injected into the proceedings.

Prescient and joyously unashamed, Loot remains a play with plenty to say, and this production gives you your money's worth."

Cast
McLeavy : John Chapman
Fay : Jean Collins
Hal : Paul Isaacs
Dennis : Dan Usztan
Truscott : Julian Farrance

Mrs McLeavy : Sacha Walker
Meadows : Dom Ward

Production Team
Director : Dom Ward
Set Design : Michael Bettell
Costume Design : Lynda Twidale
Lighting Design : Stephen Ley
Sound Design : Phillip Ley

Stage Manager : Sarah Ambrose
ASM : Ruth Sanderson
Lighting and Sound Operator : Lesley Scarth
Set Construction : Keith Syrett, Michael Bettell, Lindsay Fletcher and members of the cast & crew


John Chapman spent over twenty-five years with the RSC - though to be accurate that's the Redbridge Stage Company and not the rather more famous user of the same acronym! He has appeared in/directed over a hundred productions during that time. Best directing jobs have been The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, Lord of The Flies, Glorious! or any one of the ten works of Sir Alan Ayckbourn that he has steered to a successful conclusion. Favourite acting roles have been Hector in The History Boys, Norman in The Norman Conquests, Felix in Humble Boy and Micawber in the Tower's recent production of David Copperfield, which saw one reviewer describing his performance as "fabulously camp"! This appearance was the first of what he hopes will be many outings with the Tower Theatre Company; self evidently, Loot is the second.

Jean Collins joined the Tower Theatre Company last year and this is her second acting role, following her appearance in Her Naked Skin. Having always had an interest in the theatre, Jean completed a short Introduction to Acting course at the Central School of Speech and Drama in 2008 but has only recently found time to pursue it as a hobby. Jean has firmly established her taste for acting with the Tower and hopes to have the opportunity to appear in many more productions in the future.

Paul Isaacs completed a degree in English several years ago, prior to venturing into acting, and training at City Lit. He has appeared most recently as Lysander in A Midsummer Night's Dream after playing Alan Downie in The Slab Boys and appearing in Terrorism and 5/11 last year. Roles for other companiess include Medvedenko in The Seagull and Anthony Witwoud in The Way of the World (both at Barons Court Theatre) as well as Bardolph and The Duke of Orléans in Henry V, and Guildenstern in Hamlet (Cambridge Shakespeare Festival).

Dan Usztan makes his Tower Theatre debut with Loot. Previous acting roles include the Constable of France in Henry V (Network Theatre); Robbie in Stags and Hens, Tom in Round and Round the Garden and Toby Belch in Twelfth Night (Woodhouse Players); Malcolm in Macbeth (Shakespeare Institute); Bottom in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Bernard in Arcadia and Robbie in Shopping and Fucking (University of Durham). As a director, Dan's work includes The Ruffian on the Stair, Our Country's Good, Bear Hug, The Crucible and Daisy Pulls It Off (all with Woodhouse Players) and The Comedy of Errors (Courtyard Theatre, Hoxton).

Since returning to the theatre in his 40's, Julian Farrance has had a very fortunate run of casting including Bottom in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Lars in Dinner, Charles in Blithe Spirit, Skullery in Road and Friar Lawrence in Romeo and Juliet. For the Tower he has appeared as Northumberland in 5/11 and Lister in Damages. Most recently he directed an extremely well received Henry V for Network Theatre. Loot will be his third show for the Tower and fulfils a teenage ambition to appear in a Joe Orton play.

Dom Ward joined the Tower by accident, having been press-ganged into a production of The Entertainer in 2001. Having briefly cornered the market in romantic juveniles with roles in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, The Hot Mikado and Guys and Dolls, Dom went off to train at Mountview Academy. Since then he's broadened his range, playing everything from the Devil (Brimstone and Treacle) to (the front half of) a pantomime horse. Tower members will have seen Dom in The Birthday Party, The Last Five Years, A Doll's House and most recently twirling a caddish moustache in David Copperfield. Dom made his directorial debut for the Tower with last October's ghostly Darker Shores at St. Leonard's Church.