Entertaining Mr. Sloane is one of the late playwright / provocateur Joe Orton’s black comedies. It proceeds along a seemingly simply path where a handsome stranger comes into house of a repressed woman and her father. And yet, Entertaining Mr. Sloane ends up somewhere quite different from where you expect to be. It is the beauty of the Phoenix Theatre Ensemble’s production and Craig Smith’s direction, that the play is neither jarring nor predictable if it is new to you (as it was to me).
|Elise Stone and Matt Baguth in Entertaining Mr. Sloane, photo:Gerry Goodstein|
Kath is what was called a "spinster" in the mid-sixties. Early forties, alone and a bit overweight, Kath is bubbly but lonely. She is always terrified the male relatives in her life, either her father or brother, are about to take away her pleasure. And her pleasure is, at the moment, possible border, young Mr. Sloane. Elise Stone does a lovely job with Kath, making the character slightly ditzy and flighty rather than sad and pathetic.
Kath’s brother Eddie, is well played by Antonio Edwards Suarez. Eddie is also quite interested in the young, handsome Mr. Sloane. He gives Sloane a job as chauffer and assistant, but seems a bit more interested in dressing him up in a leather outfit more appropriate for evening gymnastics than driving.
Then there is their father, John Lenartz playing well befuddled. He thinks he knows a secret about young Mr. Sloane and doesn’t trust him at all.
Matt Baguth has the difficult role of the young Mr. Sloane. Sloane is very sexual and aware of it, but rarely in control of the situation. He may be quick to anger and violent, but normally Sloane is passive and reactionary. Mr. Baguth does a great job with the role.
Entertaining Mr. Sloane bathes in humor where their shouldn’t be any. Credit director Craig Smith for pulling out the warmth in the outlandish show, without dulling its sharper edges.
Entertaining Mr. Sloane |Playwright: Joe Orton | Director: Craig Smith | Cast: Matt Baguth, John Lenartz, Elise stone, Antonio Edwards Suarez | website
|Matt Baguth and Antonio Edwards Suarez, Photo: Gerry Goodstein|