Sloane (Horne), a handsome and amoral young man, charms his way into the household of the middle-aged and emotionally desperate Kath (Staunton) and her prurient brother Ed. The sibling pair compete for the affections of their new lodger in a game of sexual tug-of-war which leads to dark secrets, blackmail and murder.
Orton’s “breakthrough” play, Entertaining Mr Sloane is considered the most autobiographical in his short career. (Orton was bludgeoned to death by his former lover Kenneth Halliwell in 1967.) It was last seen in the West End at the Arts Theatre in 2001, in a Terry Johnson revival starring Neil Stuke and Alison Steadman.
The new production is directed by Nick Bagnall, and designed by Peter McKintosh and Colin Richmond. Actor-director Kathy Burke acts as artistic associate for the co-production with Michael Edwards and Carole Winter and English Touring Theatre. Further casting has yet to be announced.
Imelda Staunton is now well known for her film work in the likes of Vera Drake, Harry Potter, Bright Young Things, Peter’s Friends and Shakespeare in Love. She has won Oliviers for Into the Woods and, jointly, A Chorus of Disapproval and The Corn Is Green. Her other stage credits include Calico, Life x 3, Guys and Dolls, Uncle Vanya and, last year at the Almeida, There Came a Gypsy Riding.
In addition to Gavin and Stacey, Mathew Horne’s TV credits include The Catherine Tate Show, Roman’s Empire and, broadcast in 2009, Horne and Corden, which he’s co-written with co-star James Corden and which is directed by Kathy Burke.
- by Terri Paddock