Review Round-up: Critics Prick Up Their Ears?
The play, inspired by Orton's diaries and the John Lahr biography of the same name (also the inspiration for Stephen Frears' 1987 film, scripted by Alan Bennett), examines the relationship between the two writers which ended tragically in 1967 when Kenneth Halliwell bludgeoned Orton to death before committing suicide.
Critical reactions were decidedly mixed. While some found Bent's play over-simplistic and its pace “ruinously fast”, others, particularly the Daily Expess' Paul Callan. enjoyed a “gripping study of the poison of injuries”. There was similar disagreements over the performances, particularly of Matt Lucas. For some, his performance was “outstanding”, “harrowing” and “precisely gauged”, whereas in the opinion of some, particularly the Daily Mail's Quentin Letts he should “stick to the box”.