Loot Not Quite Priceless

Truscott: But I've already searched the house. I don't want to do it again.

Fay: It' common knowledge what police procedure is. They must have a search warrant.

Truscott: I'm sure the police must, but as I've already informed you, I am from the water board. And our procedure is different.

Peterson also stands out as the attentive, homicidal nurse Fay. Her performance is polite and ladylike; it captures the tension between Fay's obsession with proper appearances and her total unscrupulousness. The straight performance allows Fay's essentially nasty and avaricious nature to emerge from the lines themselves, Plotting Mr. McLeavy's death, she remarks with an innocent air: "we'll bury your father with your mother. That will be nice for him, won't it?"

Unfortunately, not all of Orton's humor receives such able delivery. The cast's distracting attempts at British accents and the dialogue's overall slow pace muddle too many of the script's best effects.


The production also indulges in a little corny melodrama that dull Loot's sharp tone. "Loot is a serious play," Orton wrote of his farce . He insisted that his outrageous lines be delivered with absolute seriousness; only this could make them truly humorous commentaries on a hypocritical society.

Too often the funny lines are spoken as if they were jokes and not the characters' deadly serious responses to an insane world. This problem is compounded by campy background music in one scene that sounds lifted from a B-movie. These effects reduce parts of Loot from black comedy to self-mockery.

These flaws are not fatal, but they do detract from some of the skilled performance and the power of the script. Entertaining, even hysterical in places this production of Loot never quite achieve the deeply bitter effect of Orton's play.