By Joe Orton
«There is no privileged class here. Insanity is democratic and we treat it according to that system.»
The clinic run by the psychiatrist Dr. Prentice is like being in a madhouse. It all starts with a job interview, during which Dr. Prentice makes #MeToo-like approaches to the secretary Geraldine. They are then caught in flagrante by his wife, who is busy attempting to conceal an affair of her own. A breathless chase ensues in which six characters are hunting for the right clothes, the right excuses and the right sex, where a policeman is almost murdered and which all with Winston Churchill’s penis.
What seems like a frantic commercial comedy of mistaken identity where no cliché and no infidelity is left out, quickly reveals itself to be a wickedly amusing farce that subverts bourgeois notions of morality and breaks taboos. Orton, who led an openly gay life in Great Britain in the 1950s and 1960s, does not, however, write exclusively about queer themes, but uses accomplished wordplay to poke fun at the instant pathologisation of any lifestyle that transcends social norms. With his incisive style and dark humour, he is one of the most influential British playwrights of the 20th century.
Bastian Kraft, who boldly demonstrated in the 2019/2020 season with «Lulu» how audio-visual technology and comic acting can work together, will once again break open traditional gender roles and dress Orton’s material in a new guise.