"LOOT" IS A COFFIN STUFFED WITH COMEDY


BONNIE GOLDBERG

Funeral homes are not traditionally hotbeds of mirth, except when playwright Joe Orton is serving as the head funeral director. Get your handkerchieves ready -- not for tears -- for ways to stifle your laughter as Westport Country Playhouse presents the British farce "Loot" as summer entertainment until Saturday, August 3.

Orton is not known as a defender of church, justice and motherhood and he has taken great liberties to make sport of grand and proper institutions. You are sure to have fun as he engages in rebellious behavior on the written page, with liberal license. At times, it is like an Abbott and Costello routine, except instead of "Who's on first?" it's now "Where's the body?"

On the somber occasion of the death of Mrs. McLeavy, her husband (John Horton) has gathered with his son Hal (Devin Norik) to bid farewell to his wife of many years. Unbeknownst to the senior McLeavey, his son Hal and Hal's best buddy Dennis (Zach Wegner), a chauffeur for the funeral home, have recently robbed the nearby bank and have a unique plan to hide the money, the "loot," in his mother's coffin. The immediate problem is what to do with mum's body.

As mum's corpse moves from pillar to post, from cupboard to bed, the unexpected arrival of Truscott (David Manis), claiming to be an official from the Water Board, raises a flood of questions. First Mr. McLeavey is shocked to discover that right before her death, his wife changed her will and left a considerable sum to her nurse Fay (Liv Rooth) and Fay's solution to the problem is for him to marry her as soon as possible. If McLeavey isn't cooperative, she'll consider the proposals of Dennis or Hal, who now have the greenery to keep her happy.

As Truscott overstays his welcome, questions about who he really is and why he is really insinuating himself in the funeral proceedings become problematic. David Kennedy directs a talented cast through its practiced paces in this satire on an accommodating set designed by Andrew Boyce.

For tickets ($30 and up), call Westport Country Playhouse, 25 Powers Court, route 1, Westport at 203-227-4177 or 1-888-927-7529 or online at www.westportplayhouse.org. Performances are Tuesday at 8 p.m., Wednesday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m.

Meet two guys who may be the stupidest criminals in all England as they alternately confess and deny their involvement in the nefarious goings-on.

 

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