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Entertaining Mr Sloane (1968)

Archbuild and the Estate of Joe Orton

Main image of Entertaining Mr Sloane (1968)
Rediffusion for ITV, tx. 15/7/1968
80 mins, black & white
DirectorPeter Moffatt
Executive ProducerPeter Willes
ByJoe Orton

Cast: Sheila Hancock (Katy); Edward Woodward (Ed); Clive Francis (Sloane); Arthur Lovegrove (Kemp)

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Middle-aged nymphomaniac Kath and her homosexual brother Ed fight for possession of Sloane, a young psychopath, who lodges with Kath next to the cemetery.

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Joe Orton's play was produced for television by Associated Rediffusion and transmitted on 15 July, 1968. Sheila Hancock played Kath, Edward Woodward played Ed, and Clive Francis played Sloane. Kemp was played by Arthur Lovegrove.

It is a faithful rendering of the play, retaining the three-act structure, with the commercial breaks occurring after each Act. There is no attempt to open up the setting, which remains one room in an ordinary little suburban house, apart from introducing Sloane, who is skulking in the scruffy yard outside when Kath first sees him, and probably contemplating burglary.

Clive Francis is a convincing thug, playing up the evil and menace in the character, if looking a little old for a lad of seventeen. Woodward sports a hairstyle which is reminiscent of Hitler, and makes Ed something of a bully, of whom Sloane at times seems genuinely frightened. Hancock captures perfectly Kath's grotesque mixture of gentility and vulgarity, and she is an accomplished farceur. Kemp, in Lovegrove's performance, is almost blind, but the only character to truly 'see' Sloane, who he attacks with a toasting fork.

Janet Moat

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Video Clips
1. Entertain Mr Sloane now! (2:28)
2. Ready for everything (3:02)
3. Intimacy and dilemmas (4:00)
Entertaining Mr Sloane (1970)
Hancock, Sheila (1933-)
Woodward, Edward (1930-2009)