lost nothing. You began the day with a dead wife, you
end it with a dead wife”.
(and re-written) between 1964-66, Loot was first presented
at the Arts Theatre, Cambridge, in February 1965.
Loot follows two inseperable friends, Hal and Dennis;
McLeavy, Hal’s widowed father; Fay, a murderous,
gold digging nurse and the psychopathic Inspector Truscott
and his assistant, Meadows.
Truscott: Have you never heard of Truscott?
The man who tracked down the limbless girl killer? Or
was that sensation before your time.
After robbing a bank, Hal and Dennis hide the money in
the coffin of Hal's deceased mother, complete with corpse.
However, their plans are thrown into chaos upon the arrival
of Inspector Truscott and the two thieves hide both the
coffin and corpse around McLeavy’s house. The play
descends into a ‘masterpiece of black farce’
as the upper hand and power swing between Hal and Dennis,
Fay and Truscott.
The play’s title was penned by Kenneth Halliwell
after originally being entitled Funeral Games. Ruthlessly
satirising religion, social attitudes to death and the
integrity of the police force, responses to the first
production were mixed and it received largely negative
reviews, mainly due to repeated script rewrites and what
was considered to be the miscasting of Kenneth Williams
as Inspector Truscott. However, Loot was successfully
revived in 1966, going on to win the Evening Standard’s
Best Play award.
“If you’re absolutely practical
– and I hope I am – a coffin is only a box.
One calls it a coffin and once you have called it a coffin
it immediately has all sorts of associations”. Joe