Out West Arts: Performance at the end of the world

Opera, music, theater, and art in Los Angeles and beyond

Loot, baby

May 19, 2007

Joshua Biton, Jill Hill, and Geoff Elliott in Loot
Photo: Craig Schwartz/ANW 2007
A Noise Within's spring season continued for me this week with their production of Joe Orton’s Loot. Let me start by saying that it’s very good, quite funny and well worth the trip to Glendale. The cast under the direction of Geoff and Julia Rodriguez-Elliott wisely play it straight with little haminess, which helps to add some zing to Orton’s biting satire and wordplay throughout the evening. The cast was excellent and despite some minor accent problems along the way, handled a fairly verbal text with seeming ease. Special mention should be made of the younger members of the cast including Joshua Biton as Hal and Joseph Rye as Dennis who both turned in very believable and engaging performances. I’ve also grown to rather like ANW cast regular Jill Hill, who here was cast as the murderous nurse, Fay. She provided most of the requisite feeling of malice in Orton’s play while maintaining much of the comic elements.

Not everything is perfect though. Things do drag somewhat in the middle and the Elliotts aren’t quite up to making the commitment to a level of meanness that would really have given this show more zing. Instead, it is more often wrapped in nostalgia for Britain in the 60s complete with the Beatles and the Stones during the intermission. At moments, things do spin towards British sex comedy, a little too Austin Powers and not quite enough Harold Pinter. Still, this is a high quality, funny and well acted production that is especially worth seeing if you’re not familiar with Orton’s work.

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