Entertaining Mr Sloane

This show has now closed, click here for a listing of current and future London shows

Previewed 22 January 2009, Opened 30 January 2009, Closed 11 April 2009 at the Trafalgar Studios 1

A major revival of Joe Orton's classic comedy Entertaining Mr Sloane in London starring Imelda Staunton and and Mathew Horne.

It may be Swinging 60s London but out in the suburbs, behind closed doors, Kath is lonely. Craving love and affection, Kath and her bachelor brother take a lodger. Soon, both become infatuated with the shady young tenant with a murky past - Mr Sloane.

Originally staged in 1964, Joe Orton's wickedly biting comedy sparked controversy with its mischievous peep at the hypocrisy behind the 'new' permissive society of the 1960's and the British fascination with sex.

The cast features Imelda Staunton as 'Kath', Matthew Horne as 'Sloane', Richard Bremmer as 'Kemp', and Simon Paisley Day as 'Ed'. Directed by Nick Bagnall with sets by Peter McKintosh, costumes by Colin Richmond, lighting by Simon Mills, and sound by Mike Furness.

Imelda Staunton has starred in a number of West End production, though she is probably best known for her television and film work which includes Vera Drakefor which she garnered an 'Oscar' nomination for 'Best Actress', Cranford and Shakespeare in Love. Mathew Horne is best know for playing 'Gavin' in the BAFTA award winning television series Gavin and Stacey aswell as for appearing in The Catherine Tate Show. Joe Orton's other comedies include What The Butler Saw and Loot. In addition, Joe Orton was the subject of Simon Bent's Prick Up Your Ears (Harold Pinter Theatre 2009).

"A slice of life at its most bestial, was how one critic described Joe Orton's first and best play, Entertaining Mr Sloane, when it opened in the Sixties. In a new revival, it is the casual violence that chills, not the casual sex, which, by comparison, seems almost cosy... Imelda Staunton's excellent Kath is both very funny and curiously touching, mainly because she handles innuendo with a plausible naivety: 'Until I was 15, I was more familiar with Africa than my own body.' Her behaviour appears to stem from a sincere blend of frustrated maternal longings and rampant lust. Even when, with deliberate provocation, she's wearing nothing but a negligee she calls herself 'Mamma' and Sloane her baby boy. Nick Bagnall's production sags a bit towards the end and Mathew Horne's insolent, butter-wouldn't melt, bisexual and brutal Sloane needs more edge, but Simon Paisley Day is in fine form as Kath's lecherous rival for possession of Sloane. The play is still entertaining and - thanks to the truthful performances - much more than just a farce about a nymphomaniac, a homosexual and a psychopath, but it is not the shocker it once was." The Mail on Sunday

"Entertaining Mr Sloane tells the story of a young, working-class chancer (a murderer, it turns out) who insinuates himself into the home of Kath, her tinpot-Hitler brother Ed, and their decrepit father... The director Nick Bagnall has a high-performance star at his disposal in Imelda Staunton, who plays Kath with fervid delight, changing gears from bustling and diminutive to lascivious and sex-crazed without breaking a sweat... But Mathew Horne, who should bring louche complexity and disorientating charm to Sloane, fails to make his performance add up to more than the sum of its parts... Orton's script, too, though funny in flashes, feels like a historical document." The Sunday Telegraph

"If Joe Orton's play is a modern classic, we're reminded here that it requires great skill to give it the nonstop buoyancy it needs. Otherwise, sharp as this farce still is, you feel its limits. Under Nick Bagnall's direction, this is felt more in the second half, which, with Act Two leading straight into Act Three, does go on a bit... Imelda Staunton is nigh-on impeccable as Kath... [she] gets the most out of a part that, mostly, is pretty grotesque." The Sunday Times

Entertaining Mr Sloane in London at the Trafalgar Studios previewed from 22 January 2009, opened on 30 January 2009 and closes on 11 April 2009.