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in Northampton since 1932

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Entertaining Mr Sloane
by Joe Orton

Cast & Crew

Kath Janice Shortland
Tim Page
Owen Warr
Bryan Hall

Director Rob Kendall
Stage Manager
Clare Brittain
Mary Greaves
Masque Theatre
Clare Brittain
Robert & Jane Vaughan
The Light & Works
Grace Ciappara
George Hammerschmidt
Box Office Mary Greaves
Front of House
Masque Theatre

Janice Shortland as Kath and Tim Page as Sloane

Production No. 311

More images from Entertaining Mr Sloane


Rob Kendall, director

Entertaining Mr Sloane was premiered in London at the Albery New Arts Theatre (1964) and transferred because of its popular success to Wyndam’s and then Queen’s Theatre, June 64.

It received its New York premiere in 1965 and was later made into a film in 1975 with Beryl Reid, Harry Andrews and Peter McEnery as Sloane.

Of all Orton’s plays Sloane is the most autobiographical. It is the unhappy son’s daydream of the perfect family in which he is never excluded and always needed (however warped the trilogy might seem!) Kath and Ed talk of Sloane as ‘boy’,’kiddie’ and ‘baby’ but they have no sexual connection with each other, only to him.

Sloane not only had Orton’s proportions but the same smooth skin and boyish look but also his survivor's pragmatism.

Kath too is an amalgamation of Orton’s mother’s mannerisms and during a performance Orton’s sister exclaimed on seeing Beryl Reid ‘Look there’s my mum‘ and explained how Elsie Orton had taken in a lodger and ‘pandered to his every need.

The black comedy of the play we find difficult to associate with anyone’s life - even Orton’s — but the characterisation and the plot follows the rapacious nature of the characters needs.

Sloane has killed one man when he walks into Kath’s house looking for a room - we can only guess at what Kath, Eddie and even Kemp want from him!

It is ironic aslo that Entertaining Mr Sloane, as his first full length professional play was dedicated to his lover, Halliwell, who within only a matter of three years from its success had buried a hammer in Orton’s head - his death as violent as some of those black episodes in his plays.

31 May - 3 June 2000
Northampton College Studio Theatre, St Gregory's Road, Northampton

Page last updated: 16/02/2013 Masque Theatre © 2013


Northampton Chronicle & Echo, May 2000

Sixities black comedy, Entertaining Mr Sloane, is the latest production from Masque Theatre.

The play by Joe Orton was first performed at the new Arts Theatre in London back in 1964 and was considered very shocking.

It reached a wider audience when made into a film in 1975, with Beryl Reid memorably playing Kath in a see-through nightie.

The Masque production is intended to be faithful to the original, and director Rob Kendall believes it still has the power to shock.

The title role is played by Tim Page, with Janice Shortland as the desperate Kath and Bryan Hall asher demanding brother Eddie.

The fourth character is Kath and Eddie’s father, Kemp, played by Owen Warr.

Mr Kendall added: “The black comedy of the play is difficult to associate with anyone’s life even though some of the events of Orton’s scripts are thought to be autobiographical.

“Mr Sloane has previously killed a man when he walks into Kath’s house looking for a room. Soon his charms bring Kath and Eddie into argument over how they will share Sloane’s not inconsiderable favours.

“At the end of the play the audience is left astounded at what the characters have done and can only guess at the likely outcome.”

Masque Theatre is presenting Entertaining Mr Sloane at Northampton College Studio, St Gregory’s Road, Northampton, from May 31 to June 3 at 7.45pm. It is not suitabler for children.

Tickets cost £5 with £4 concessions.

A scene from Entertaining Mr Sloane