Extract from manuscript of 'Between Us Girls'



Six days after their latest rejection Monteith received a letter from Orton.

‘Kenneth and I have decided that there is very little to be gained by our collaboration so we have split (for the purpose of writing)’.

Enclosed was Orton’s first solo work – a manuscript for a novel, Between us Girls. There was one further submission The Vision of Gombald Proval, also rejected as being ‘several degrees too odd’.

Orton now abandoned the novel as a form and began to write plays. His first effort, Fred and Madge was a fantasy about escaping working class life, followed by The Visitors, a slice of life realism about a man dying in hospital while nurses and family are oblivious to the old man. The Visitors was submitted to the BBC and Royal Court Theatre and praised for its ‘excellent dialogue’ but rejected, ‘the flaw is lack of shaping and dramatic impact.

Success had evaded Orton and Halliwell writing both collaboratively and alone. Depressed by failure, there was about to be a wholly unexpected turn of events, which would profoundly affect Orton’s writing and relationship with Halliwell.

Image: Courtesy The Orton Estate/Joe Orton Collection at the Library of the University of Leicester   Text © Leicester City Council Orton Quotes: © The Orton Estate  

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