Part way through this play I suddenly thought of Pinter's the Caretaker – I reckoned there was a passing faint echo of the play in a few brief moments. Another play that I thought of was Epitaph for George Dillon by John Osborne and I wondered if somehow Orton was responding to it. Of course both the Caretaker and Epitaph... were written some years before Mister Sloane and Orton may not have seen one of them, so I'm probably just filling up lines here.
First things first, I enjoyed myself, I thought the play and the acting were very good especially in the second half when things got a lot darker.
However here are a few of the things i didn't like:
In the first part of the play things felt a little bit too literal, even the subtlest innuendo seemed to be played for big laughs. This might have been the fault of a willing and pliant audience – fuelled by pre-performance alcohol – looking for laughs and reacting accordingly. Also the actors seemed to be having a wonderful time, often appearing on the verge of corpsing
Another example of literal mindedness on the part of the production was Imelda Staunton's negligee. There is a line in the script where her character Kath complains that the material that she is wearing is almost see-through. The negligee was see-through, very see-through, nothing-left-to-the-imagination see-through. I shouldn't complain about virtual nudity and Imelda Staunton has nothing to be ashamed of.
The only thing that did worry me about Imelda Staunton was that in the first half she was too nice, gentle and lonely, nowhere near the grotesque that that I associated with the role.
Possibly the worst thing but still a fairly minor point was Matthew Hornes's accent which wobbled between Essex and a non-geographical northern.
This play is still in preview so if I'm right not to like something then it may well be fixed before they put it in front of the critics – not that they'll have taken any advice form me of course.
Actually, I was having so much fun that I went and got a drink at the interval, to kinda cook it up a little more before act two rolled around.
And wasn't it nice to see Kath as _not_ a grotesque? I thought she was real enough to actually be believable, even though the desperation was juiced up a little to increase the comedy value.
Of course, I've never seen this play before, so who knows what I should have been expecting?
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