LOOT  A Comedy at  Mountain Playhouse

BY RUTH RICE

RRICE@TRIBDEM.COM

In this absurd farce, intelligent silliness abounds.

Joe Orton’s outrageous comedy “Loot” will be staged Tuesday through Aug. 19 at Mountain Playhouse, Jennerstown.

Producer Teresa Stoughton Marafino described the play as a cross between Oscar Wilde and Monty Python.

She rates the comedy PG-13 for its irreverent satire and wit.

Director Guy Stroman said the play is set in suburban London in the swinging, mod period of the mid-1960s.

“There’s a lot in this story that audiences will love, Stroman said.

“Loot” tells the tale of two friends, Hal and Dennis, who use a coffin to stash the cash from a bank robbery they commited.

The only problem is, there’s a body in the coffin, Hal’s recently deceased mother.

The two robbers put mom (a mannequin) in a wardrobe, then try to keep mum about it when an inspector and his right-hand cop show up.

To complicate matters, the nurse who cared for Hal’s mother has set her sights on Hal’s father as husband No. 8.

“There is a scene that is similar to Abbot and Costello’s ‘Who’s on First,” Stroman said.

“It was Orton’s first big hit. It’s an unusual farce in that it’s just not about manners, hidden relationships and mistaken identities. They hide the money and take on all of British society. It’s a good social satire.”

Stroman added that “Loot” transcends its time frame, the mark of any good comedy.

“Loot” is a clash with the younger bank robbers trying to hide what they’ve done, and the older folks trying to figure it out.

The zany play is fast-paced, with a rock ’n’ roll rhythm reminiscent of The Beatles.

“The audience could never envision being in these desperate circumstances,” Stroman said.

“The actors play it for keeps, which makes it even funnier. It’s like Lucille Ball.”

The cast will feature returning actors that playhouse audiences are used to seeing in farces and two new additions playing the bank robbers.

Sean Patrick Henry, who made his playhouse debut in “Smoke on the Mountain” last summer, will play Hal, one of the robbers.

He also will appear in “Keep on the Sunny Side” later this season.

Justin Packard will make his playhouse debut as Dennis, the other robber.

He has performed in “Meet Me in St. Louis” in New York.

Neil A. Casey will play Truscott, the bumbling inspector.

He has been seen in a number of playhouse productions the past several years and will perform in four productions this season.

Jennifer Blood, who will perform in six shows this season, will play the matrimony-mad nurse, and Nick Ruggeri, who returns to the playhouse for his 15th consecutive summer and will be in five productions, will be her next target, McLeavy.

Larry Tobias, who appeared in “Smoke on the Mountain” last summer and will be in five productions this year, will play the cop, Meadows.



Comedy

What: “Loot,” a comedy by Joe Orton.

When: Tuesday through Aug. 19.

Showtimes: 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, 2 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays and 3 p.m. Sundays.

Where: Mountain Playhouse, Jennerstown.

Tickets: $8 to $30.

Information: www.MountainPlayhouse.org or 629-9201.

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