BWW Reviews: HotCity Theatre's Moody Production of ENTERTAINING MR. SLOANE
Playwright Joe Orton's writing career was brief, ending abruptly when he was bludgeoned to death in 1967. In a very short span he wrote a handful of plays that are still being performed to this day, and one wonders what he would have created if he'd lived longer. You can catch one of his early plays at HotCity Theatre as they are currently presenting his darkly cynical work Entertaining Mr. Sloane. A fine cast does a splendid job of bringing these peculiar characters to life.
A young man named Sloane is looking to rent a room and happens upon the residence of the middle-aged Kath, which is situated next to a rubbish dump. Kath's aged father, Kemp, is suspicious of the lad, thinking he may well be the man who murdered his employer. Kath's brother Ed, though initially opposed to his staying at Kath's, decides to employ Sloane as his chauffeur. When Sloane is attacked and stabbed in the leg by Kemp, Kath chastises her father and tends to the young man's wound. Though she seems to be teasing him sexually as she treats his thigh, before the first act ends she's parading around in a negligee and openly seducing him.
Paul Cereghino is solid as the psychopathic Sloane, playing it cool until confronted by Kemp. Bill Grivna is also quite good as the family patriarch, whose suspicions are well founded. A confrontation between the pair does not end well for him. Lavonne Byers makes a memorable impression as Kath, and her attraction to Sloane is anything but subtle. Michael James Reed does terrific work as Ed, playing a verbal game of cat and mouse with Sloane when he first encounters him.
Director Bill Whitaker stages the action well and draws fine performances from his players. C. Otis Sweezey creates the lovely scenic design, and Sean Savoie's lighting scheme reflects the mood of each scene. Becky Fortner's costumes are good character fits, and Meg Brinkley once again comes up with some nifty props.
HotCity Theatre's production of Entertaining Mr. Sloane is smartly conceived and executed. It continues through September 21, 2013 at the Kranzberg Arts Center.