Theatre review: Loot at Upstairs at the Gatehouse

12:21 24 October 2012

Loot at Upstairs at the Gatehouse. Picture: David Sprecher

Loot at Upstairs at the Gatehouse. Picture: David Sprecher


Tower Theatre Company delivers polished production of Joe Orton’s timeless piece of dark comic genius

Loot was originally penned in the 1960s, where it won a number of awards and cemented Joe Orton’s reputation as a playwright. A spoof crime thriller that mocks the church, death and the police, its outrageously bad taste and hilarious dark farce were condemned and lauded in equal measure. I was intrigued to see whether a play that had stirred such strong emotions almost half a century ago could evoke the same in a jaded, digital age audience.

The opening scene finds widower McLeavy sleeping in a chair next to his late wife’s coffin, amid a well designed set that transported the audience from the cosy loft at the Gatehouse into a house of mourning. Enter the seemingly pious nurse and carer Fay and from the outset the script hurtles forward at an explosive pace. Brilliantly deadpan in the delivery of a number of scandalous lines, Jean Collins puts in an impressive performance in revealing Fay’s more sinister motives in caring for John Chapman’s endearingly bumbling McLeavy. Paul Isaacs is intriguing as the emotionless bank robber Hal, his portrayal leaving me wondering whether he was mildly deranged or merely incredibly callous and Dan Usztan hits just the right side of dopey as Hal’s partner in crime Dennis to bring the slapstick scenes of the ensuing debacle to life.

Despite exploring a number of questionable themes, the cast did a commendable job of ensuring that the laughs remained firmly on their flawed characters. However it was Julian Farrance who inevitably stole the show in the role of Inspector Truscott, dazzling and confounding the audience with his hypnotic rhetoric and, at times, so unbelievably irritating that that you could sympathise with the unsavoury characters squirming under his eccentric line of questioning.

The Tower Theatre Company’s polished delivery brings this witty satire to life in a thoroughly enjoyable 90 minutes. A timeless piece of dark comic genius.

* Loot was at Upstairs at the Gatehouse in Highgate Village, N6, from October 16 to October 20.


Latest Entertainment Stories

The Walk. Picture: Sony Pictures

This is a breathtaking view of one of the 20th century’s greatest daredevil stunts, says Michael Joyce.

Saturday, October 3, 2015
jancis robinson

An upcoming magnum vs bottle champagne tasting at Islington’s The Finest Bubble, led by wine critic Jancis Robinson, hopes to settle the question.

Friday, October 2, 2015
Hula House. Picture: Emily Macinnes

This bid to give voice to the hidden world of prostitutes is sordid, bizarre and manipulative, says Anna Behrmann.

Thursday, October 1, 2015
Henryk Gorecki. Picture: PA

The Polish composer shot to worldwide fame with his Symphony of Sorrowful Songs, but there is much more to learn about the avant-garde artist, says Michael White

Most read entertainment


You could be splashing the cash at Topshop!

Just imagine what you could do with £1,000 to spend at Topshop.

You won't need to fork out for groceries for a while!

Asda, one of the country’s leading supermarkets, prides itself in being one of the cheapest places to shop, so you can be sure that your money will go a long way here!

Digital Edition

Read the Islington Gazette e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder