Entertaining Mr. Sloane (1975)

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Character Actor
Sloane Malcolm McDowell
Kath Beryl Reid
Eddie Ronald Fraser
Kemp James Ottaway

Written by Joe Orton



Theater Program Cover from the Duke of York


'Joe Orton changed my whole outlook about acting. I played Alex in Clockwork Orange very much in an Orton way, without knowing it. He was an Orton character really, an appealing, funny monster - immoral, yet with a kind of morality. ' - Malcolm 1/87

My Summary

    Kathy is 41 years old and living with her father Kemp. One night she has the 20 year old Sloane over the apartment to look at a room she is renting. She tells him she was married once and had a son, but he was killed. He decides he will take the room. She then decides to tell him the truth that she was never really married and had her son taken away from her by her brother Ed. He tells her he is an orphan and both his parents died when he was eight and he visits their graves every fall. She begins to mother him and holds him close to her, kisses him and admires his smooth skin.
    Kemp her father enters and when Kath explains why Sloane is there he isn't interested and tells him they have no room for him. She doesn't care what he thinks and gives him some crumpets to toast in the fire. She leaves them together as she goes to get some food. Sloane approaches him and says he looks familiar and that he never forgets a face. Kemp assures him he doesn't know him and there isn't anyway he could have seen him as he doesn't get out much. Sloane continues to persist over and over, but every time Kemp shoots him down. Kemp tells him about Kath's child, but Sloane has heard. He also admits he hasn't spoken to his son in twenty years after catching him in the bedroom when he was 17. He doesn't say what he did, but we can presume he was a homosexual. Sloane admires the view from the window, but Kemp doesn't care for it. He tells him only the first row of apartments was completed leaving a huge vacant area where people come to dump their garbage. He would challenge them if his boss was still alive who owned the apartments. Sloan asks what happened and Kemp tells him he was murdered. Sloane continues pressing him with questions about the murder and the only thing he knows about the killer was that he was a young man with smooth skin. Now we know Sloan is the killer, but Kemp doesn't. Sloane persists with his questions until he is satisfied the man remembers nothing and if he does will keep it quiet.
    After a few minutes Kemp has changed and now he thinks Sloane looks familiar. Sloane assures him he is convinced now that there is no way they can know each other. Kemp tells him he knows and he'll have someone take care of him. Slone tells him to shut up and before he can do anything else Kemp stabs him in the leg with a fork. He screams and is bleeding, he thinks his is dying. Kathy hears the commotion and rushed in to help. When she hears what happened she is ashamed of her father and thinks he is jealous of Sloane and sends him out. She has him remove his pants and takes care of his leg. She doesn't think the wound is bad.
    The doorbell rings and she doesn't want to answer it because she thinks it is a friend who will gossip if she sees what happened. She flirts with him and he grabs her breast. She is upset and acts like she isn't interested and says it would upset her brother if he found out. She helps Sloane off to bed to get some rest instead.
    She is upset with her father and send him off to Sloane's old place to pick up his suitcase. Before he can leave there is a knock at the window. It is Kathy's brother Eddie. He was the one ringing the doorbell. Kemp leaves and Eddie comes in. He overheard her talking and is not happy she has a man staying there, even if she is getting money from him.  

My Review

    Since I am pretty sure I'll never see Malcolm's performance of the play, barring a video tape showing up, I bought the book instead. It has the complete script for the exact play Malcolm did and mentions his performance of it. While I can certainly see Malcolm in the role and why it appealed to him, I just don't like the story. So Sloane shows up at a house and the woman and her brother both fall for him for no real reason. In the end he kills the father and they don't care? I guess that is supposed to be funny, a black comedy. There are some funny lines, but overall it just seems flat.
    There are only four characters and the action takes place in Kathy's living room. It is much like The Collection, another play Malcolm did with four characters in one room and you aren't sure what is going on. While I am sure I would like it much more being able to see Malcolm perform it in his bleach blond hair, biker boots and leather hat, there is nothing in the plot for me. I think it is too British for my tastes.

Rating 3/10

2001-8 Alex for www.MalcolmMcDowell.net