Ad Astra Theatre Company presents Loot by Joe Orton.

Loot is the most famous of the farces of Joe Orton and was written in 1966 at the height of the Swinging Sixties. Orton’s main objective was to blow apart societal shibboleths by exposing the hypocrisies and corruption of contemporary Britain. He’d already been to jail for six months for applying his wit and mischief to library books and had attracted the ire of the Lord Chamberlain who demanded cuts and changes to the first production, which outraged – but eventually won over- a new and appreciative audience.

Even 50 years later, it still has the ability to shock, with its plot centering around an imminent funeral, an audacious bank robbery, a predatory nurse and a bent copper. But hypocrisy and corruption are still with us and many of our institutions, which is why it’s still relevant today.

Like all farce, it’s fast-paced, preposterous, funny and savage, and within Orton’s exquisite turn of phrase, we can hear the ghosts of Wilde, Shaw and Pinter. And see that it is one of the precursors of Monty Python and Fawlty Towers.

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