An Evening with Joe Orton

Frank CliffThe Cut, HalesworthFrank Cliff

The Cut, Halesworth

The idea behind Nudge Productions' An Evening with Joe Orton seemed a good one: a series of monologues viewing Orton's life through extracts from his published diaries, followed by a performance of his early play The Ruffian on the Stair.

The extracts ended with the entry for August 1, 1966, nine days before Orton was murdered by his lover, Kenneth Halliwell. Delivered alternately by Rich Hinton and Dan Walker, standing on either side of a silent seated figure, a bottle of pills and a hammer on the table in front of him, the staging was good, though hardly gripping in Hinton and Wells' characterless and nervy


Orton's bleak comedy, The Ruffian on the Stair, with its mix of religion, murder, incest and homosexuality, must have created quite a stir when it was broadcast on the BBC in 1964.

Mike, Irish, ex-boxer, Catholic and crook, lives with Joyce, Protestant and reformed prostitute, in a dingy bed-sit. Their lives are turned upside down with the arrival of Wilson, ostensibly asking for a room, but in reality having more sinister designs. Strong performances from Grant Bartlett as Mike and Linda Hook as Joyce. Dan Walker had the necessary charm as Wilson, if not quite enough menace. All that Lee Johnson's direction needed to bring the whole thing together was more pace.

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