As the audience takes their seats, their attention is directed to the stage where they are greeted with an image of death — a coffin splashed in red lighting and surrounded with plastic flowers. As the play begins, the audience watches a nurse drag a giant black shroud that covers most of the set off stage. The feeling of death sets in, and that’s how NKU’s theater season opened, with death and flowers in Joe Orton’s interpretation of “Loot.”
“Loot” is about two thieves who rob a bank and their comedic attempts at trying to keep their crime a secret. It’s when outsiders involve themselves in the plot that the play becomes truly funny.
None of the characters in Orton’s play are likable, but they are reliable representations of real figures in life; ranging from the seductress, the dirty cop, the money-hungry thieves and the innocent bystander. The play deals with corruption, the underbelly of society, murder and sex.
While watching the play, there were moments of pure scandal in the audience, especially during the sexual moments. The violence was greeted by giggles and laughter. In a society where violence and sex are featured prominently, one can understand what Orton was trying to say about the dark side of human nature – it exists in all of us. Through the use of farce, Orton shows us a mirror of ourselves and the image is always pretty.
Farce is hard to perform, but none of the cast seemed to have any issues in that department. Spenser Smith was perfect as the brutal, corrupt and egotistical Inspector Truscott. Smith barged his way onto the stage like a rat in a trench coat, sniffing out the clues and playing up every ugly characteristic of a dirty cop.
Alyssa Kotte played the deadly, seductive, scheming black widow, Faye, with just the right amount of sultry, teasing humor. Sto Strouss and Seth Wallen played the thieves with a perfect combination of questionable morals and open sexuality. Sean Harkless played McLeavy with the fervor of the innocent and outraged, and Annie Hobson made a fine contribution as Meadows, a cop that works under Truscott.
The play was funny, dark, disturbing and raised questions about society and ourselves in general. The topics were treated with humor, but like any good black comedy, you have the sweet and the sour. Underneath it all you see the slimy darkness of society and the unsettling feeling it leaves in its wake.
”Loot” runs from Sept. 23 through Oct. 3 at the Strauss Theatre. Information about other NKU productions and show times can be accessed by calling the box office at: 859-572-5464 or online at:http://theatre.nku.edu/boxoffice.